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Soogaree dies at 110

Sunday, June 1 2014

Soogaree Jattan, the oldest surviving indentured worker who turned 110 on Indian Arrival Day, Friday, has died.

Soogaree, who came to Trinidad from India in 1908 when she was just four years old, was pronounced dead at 4.10 pm yesterday at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex where she was warded for three days prior to her passing.

Chief Executive Officer of the North Central Regional Health Authority Kumar Boodram confirmed her demise. He said he was in the ward when she “ took her last breath”.

On her birthday on Friday, Soogaree was visited by a few family members including her daughter Anandai Ramlagan.

Genealogist Shamshu Deen, who has known Soogaree for over 25 years told Sunday Newsday he went to the hospital to see her yesterday but was not allowed in the ward as the doctors were trying to resuscitate her.

“I knew her for so long, I thought she would live forever. I used to boast about her and hold her up as an example. Now she is no longer there,” he said sadly.

Deen said he met Soogaree’s great-grand-daughter at the hospital yesterday who told him that she had grandchildren. He said that means that Soogaree has great, great, great grandchildren.

“That is exceptional, as a researcher I have never met someone with great, great, great grandchildren, it’s a first for me,” he said. Deen said Soogaree never knew her exact date of birth so decided to celebrate her birthday on Indian Arrival Day.

Soogaree who is believed to be the oldest living person in Trinidad and Tobago, if not the Caribbean, was admitted to the Mt Hope hospital on Thursday. She was receiving oxygen and drips at the hospital and was being treated for fluid in her lungs.

Funeral arrangements are still being finalised.

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