Trinidad & Tobago
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(07) NOTABLE TRINBAGO CANADIAN

Educator - Activist And Community Organizer- Lloyd McKell

Edited by Kemet Newsletter (2014)


Born in Trinbago, Lloyd McKell graduated from Queen’s Royal College and taught Latin and Spanish for three years at St. George’s College in Barataria before migrating to Canada as a foreign student in 1967. In Canada he graduated with an Economics degree from the University of Toronto in Scarborough Ontario. McKell was also the Scarborough College’s International Students Association president. After graduating from the U of T, McKell worked as a program director with the now defunct Harriet Tubman Centre and was the first chair of the Scarborough Black Community Education Committee before joining the Toronto City’s School Board.


Lloyd McKell has been an educator with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) for thirty-five years, and was a member of the Senior Executive Team. He held the position of Senior Advisor at the Toronto District School Board and Executive Officer for Student and Community Equity. In 2007, he led the process for establishing Canada’s first Africentric school. He also helped to establish the Race Relations Advisory Committee of the Toronto District School Board and served on many committees including: Central Coordinator of The  Community Involvement of Inner City Advisory Committee, French as a Second Language Advisory and Aboriginal (Native) Community Advisory.


McKell organized annual student conferences on apartheid and chaired the 1986 Toronto Arts Against Apartheid eight-day festival and was a member of the organizing committee that hosted Mandela’s first visit to Canada in June 1990, four months after his release from prison. He also planned the event at Central Technical High School for students and teachers of Toronto schools to listen to an address by Mandela, co-ordinate the participation of 45,000 students to attend the “Mandela and the Children” event at Sky-Dome (now Rogers Centre) during Mandela’s second visit in 1998 and spearheaded the renaming of Park Public School in Regent Park to Nelson Mandela Park Public School. 


McKell is Co- Chairman of the Mandela Legacy Committee (MLC). This committee was responsible for obtaining the Toronto City Council approval on the 5th December 2014 to add the ceremonial dedication of University Avenue from Front Street West to College Street in honour of the first democratically elected president of South Africa. It will be called the ‘Nelson Mandela Boulevard’ installed on University Avenue. The official street name will remain the same and addresses will not change. McKell meet Mandela many times and in 2013 on his first visit to South Africa McKell visited Mandela house in Soweto where he lived before he was imprisoned, his Johannesburg residence, the prison cell on Robben Island in which he was held for 18 of 27 years and the Groot Drakenstein correctional facility, where he spent the final months of his lengthy prison term.


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Medical and Political Champion - Hon. Dr Hady Fry
Edited by Kemet Newsletter (2014)

Hedy Fry was born into poverty in San Fernando Trinidad and Tobago to a very poor mix race family. She graduated as class Valedictorian, winning a full scholarship for a Masters degree in English Literature at Oxford, England. She had done her undergraduate in French, English and Spanish literature, though her passion turned to medicine and she relinquished the scholarship to study medicine in Dublin, Ireland. She completed her science requirement and went on to graduate in Medicine with Honours at the Royal College of Surgeons.

She immigrated to Canada in 1970. She practiced family medicine at St. Paul’s Hospital in the West End of Vancouver for two decades and was a local, provincial and national leader in medical politics. She served as president of the Vancouver Medical Association (VMA), BC Medical Association (BCMA), and the Federation of Medical Women, during which time she was hailed as a powerful and successful negotiator. Dr Fry was well-known to Canadian audiences as a panellist on the long-running national CBC television program Doctor, Doctor.

Told by many that she could not win, Dr. Hedy Fry was first elected to Parliament for Vancouver Centre in 1993 becoming the first Rookie Candidate in Canada to defeat a sitting Canadian Prime Minister in a federal election. She has been re-elected in 1997, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2011.  Dr Hedy Fry is a very proud of her Caribbean heritage and takes every opportunity to introduce herself as a Trinidadian born Canadian. This is one proud Dougla (Indian & African) and let every knows of her mix birth.


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Broadcaster - Carl Redhead                                                                                   Edited by Kemet Newsletter (2014)

Carl Redhead from Mon Repos - San Fernando Trinidad became Vice President & General Manager of two Radio Stations in Canada. He first held this position with CHIN Radio & TV
1540 Ltd which operates CHIN-AM FM in Toronto for over 25 years. He became Vice President in 1987. He then went to FLOW 93.5 FM. in the same capacity. He was instrumental in the establishment of FLOW 93.5 FM, then Canada's first and only Black-owned and operated radio station. Carl passed away on the 22nd of December 2002. 

 

As an investor and director in FLOW 93.5 FM's parent company - Milestone Radio Inc., Redhead worked tirelessly for more than 12 years to make the dream of Canada's first Urban radio station a reality. The original group consisted of seven (7) investors from the Caribbean community and one Italian - Johnny Lombardi, President/Owner of Chin Radio and Carl's boss. With this determination FLOW 93.5 FM received a license from the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in June 2000 and was launched on-air in Toronto on February 9, 2001. FLOW 93.5 was later bought out by Telecommunication giant Bell Canada. Ironically two of the seven Caribbean founding investors previously worked at Bell Canada; Executive Manager Tony Davies from Jamaica and Electronic Engineering Technologist Jude Cowan from San Fernando Trinidad, who was a friend of Carl and editor of Kemet Newsletter.

 

Redhead had more than 36 years of radio and television broadcasting and broadcast management experience. Early in his career he won a novice radio announcers' contest that lead to a career change from teacher to broadcaster in Trinidad. Within five years, Redhead rose to the status of Chief Announcer in 610 Radio in Trinidad. For three years he anchored the major television news and interview program. Redhead's contributions to the broadcasting industry and the Black community were numerous. He was founding Secretary of the Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA). He developed the Code for Ethnic Brokers on behalf of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) and the Canadian Association of Ethnic Radio Broadcasters (CAEB), which was later adopted by the CRTC. Redhead is listed in the Canadian "Who's Who" directory. In 1998, he was the recipient of the (Pride Newspaper) African Canadian Achievement Award for Media.

Well-versed on the Canadian Radio & Television Commission (CRTC) laws and industry affairs, he served as a Consultative Committee member with the CRTC Committee for Radio and was on the Advisory Board of Humber College. He was also Chair of the Broadcasting Sub-committee for Public Awareness on Meteorology 


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Caribbean Music Pioneer in Canada - Jai Ojah-Maharaj                               Edited by Kemet Newsletter (2014)


Jai Ojah-Maharaj born in Trinidad has been known as “the voice of the Caribbean” on CHIN Radio/TV International since 1979. His Caribbean Connection and Dateline programs are the source of news, information and music from this region to people of Caribbean origin living in Toronto and throughout Southern Ontario. Jai is thankful to fellow Trinidadian Carl Redhead who was Vice of President and General Manager of CHIN Radio and he in turn has trained and mentored many who has launch their careers in broadcasting and communication.


Jai came to Canada on September 16, 1972. He is from a family of 12 and his father was Karoo Ojah-Maharaj and his uncle Doon Pundit who was responsible for the creation of a lot of the Hindu schools in Trinidad and Tobago and the Hindu temple in Arima. Doon Pundit created the temple in Chacachacare.


Jai is very proud of his family especially his father who was a founding member and adviser of the People's National Movement (PNM) with Dr. Eric Williams. His father was one of the PNM adviser in obtaining Eid and Divali as public holidays in Trinbago. Jai is very proud of the country of his birth and his family contribution in obtaining  independence in 1962.


Jai hosted South Asian Newsweek CFMT Channel 47 (1993-98); Guest Commentator and Columnist for a variety of radio and newspaper outlets in Canada, Trinidad and New York; Technical Producer, evening programming CHIN Radio AM & FM; Judge at Canada Juno Awards in the Calypso and Reggae categories (1985-90).


Several honors were bestowed unto Jai including Canadian Ethnic Journalists’ and Writers’ Award (2005); National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada Award, “for long and meritorious service to the Caribbean community in Canada” (2004); Council of Canada Award “for long and meritorious service to the Caribbean community in Canada” (2004). Jai obtained his Radio Broadcasting Diploma from Humber College Toronto Canada.


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Canada Steelpan Pioneer & Afropan Founder - Earl La Pierre Sr.
Edited By Kemet Newsletter (2014)

Formerly of St Clair, Port-of-Spain Trinidad, Earl La Pierre Sr. is one of many Trinidadians who have made their mark in their various spheres of the world.  While living in Canada he taught steel pan music at the University of Toronto, North York Board of Education and the Toronto Board of Education. Earl was instrumental in getting the Steel pan offered as a credit course in the North Schools.

In 1986 when Earl headed to Cayman Islands for the Pirates week Festival, an opportunity to teach pan there arose. He ended up spending 18 years there and loved every moment of it. While there he opened a school called Cayman School for Pan, has a Carnival Steel band named Panoramers and teaches pan at the primary, middle and high schools, as well as Catholic Schools. In Grand Cayman as a result of Earl's contributions, all schools offer steel band as part of their educational program. Earl has won every School Music Festival and every Carnival Pan Competition in Cayman Islands from 1988 - 2006.

Toronto Steel Band competition which was started in 1971 was also dominated by Afropan. His Steel Band over a 44 year span won first place 32 times, came second 10 times and third 2 times. In recognition of his cultural  contribution to the city, The City Of Toronto Government allocated an official landmark name to the panyard known today as 'AFROPARK'.  The park is located at the southern end of Jefferson Ave. off of King St., just east of Dufferin St. bordering the Allan A. Lamport Stadium. In 2014 Earl La Pierre was awarded for his contribution to the art of Steel Pan in Canada, by the Ontario Steel Pan Association (O.S.A.); presented to him at a formal hotel banquet gala ceremony; by Her Excellency Dr. Vidhya Gyan Tota-Maharaj - The Consul General for the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago in Toronto.

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Politician - Bass Balkissoon
Edited by Kemet Newsletter (2014)

Bas Balkissoon was born in Trinidad in 1952. He immigrated to Canada in 1970. Before entering politics, Balkissoon worked for Bell Canada for 17 years in various management positions. During that time, he served as an advisory to the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Post, Telephone and Telegraph for just over two years.

He is a Liberal member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario representing the riding of Scarborough—Rouge River. From 1988 to 1997 he was a municipal Councillor in Scarborough and from 1998 to 2005 he was a Councillor in the amalgamated city of Toronto. He was elected to the Ontario legislature in a by-election in 2005 and was re-elected in the 2007, 2011 and 2014 general elections. Balkissoon rose to prominence as the head of Scarborough Homeowners Alliance For Fair Taxes, an organization that challenged the province's property assessment system.

With the formation of the new amalgamated city of Toronto as a Mega City, he was elected to Toronto City Council in 1997. As chair of the city's Audit Committee he was credited with uncovering a dubious computer leasing deal between the city and MFP Financial company, which eventually led to the formation of the Toronto Computer Leasing Inquiry. Balkissoon also served for a period on the Police Services Board on which he was critical of then-Toronto Police Chief Julian Fantino as well as the Toronto Police Association and its leader at the time, Craig Bromell.

On November 24, 2005, Balkissoon was elected as the Member of Provincial Parliament in the riding of Scarborough—Rouge River, replacing Alvin Curling who was appointed as the Canadian ambassador to the Dominican Republic. Balkissoon, as the Liberal Party candidate, won with 58% of the vote. During his time in office he has been appointed to a number of Parliamentary Assistant roles including Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services (2006-7, 2014); Minister of Health and Long-Term Care (2007-10); and Minister of Community and Social Services (2010-2013). In 2011 he was named as Deputy Speaker and Chair of the Committee of the Whole House

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Journalist - Ian Harvey Hanomansing
Edited by Kemet Newsletter (2014)

Ian Harvey Hanomansing born 1961in Port of Spain Trinidad & Tobago  is a Canadian television journalist with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). He currently reports for CBC Television's nightly newscast, The National. He grew up in Sackville, New Brunswick. He attended Mount Allison University for his undergraduate education and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Sociology. He studied law at Dalhousie Law School and graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) in 1986. While in university, he won six national university debating and public speaking championships and was the top speaker at the Canadian National Debating Championship.

As a reporter, Hanomansing has covered a number of important stories, including the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, the 1992 Los Angeles riots, the 1994 Stanley Cup riot, the handover of Hong Kong from Great Britain to China, and five Olympic Games (Atlanta USA-1996; Nagano Japan-1998; Salt Lake City USA-2002; Torino Italy-2006, and Beijing 2008). As an anchor, he led Canada-wide coverage of the North America Northeast Blackout of 2003 and the 2006 shootings at Dawson College in Montreal, Quebec. On November 28, 2008 Hanomansing won the Gemini Award for the Best News Anchor in Canada.

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Publisher - Arnold A. Auguste
Edited By Kemet Newsletter (2014)

Born and raised in Trinidad, West Indies, Arnold A. Auguste left the Caribbean nation when he was 23 years old. He arrived in Toronto, Canada, in 1970 and began to contribute columns to Contrast, a politically aggressive paper that had its roots in the black power movement of the 1960s. Eventually he enrolled in Ryerson University's journalism program. After graduating in 1976 he was hired as an editor at Spirit, a paper targeting the black community. The paper soon released him due to budget cuts. He return to Contrast News paper in the editorial position, but his moderate style clashed with the paper's hard-line stance and he was fired within a year.


Just two years out of journalism school and with two lost jobs on his fledgling resume, Auguste decided to do something radical. Unable to find the type of paper he wanted to write for, he decided to create it. In 1978 Auguste formed Arnold A. Auguste Associates Limited and launched Share, a weekly newspaper dedicated to the black and Caribbean community of Toronto. The name of the paper captured the tone of his reporting. Auguste wanted his community to share its good & bad news. Share about the Caribbean people in the neighborhood, what they are doing and not only who is against them. 


Auguste produce Share from his apartment on Ellington Ave., publishing 2000 copies a week. It was the first ethnic paper to be distributed for free in Toronto and made its revenue via advertisement and sponsors as Hagel Beauty Supply.The paper also looked different. The front page folded open to reveal a glossy magazine-style cover. In addition Share proved to be the first color-blind black news paper. More concerned with quality reporting and writing than any status quot, Auguste did not hesitate to hire writers of any ethnicity. One white writer hired in 1980 said "I think mostly what Auguste wanted was to see his community covered thoroughly, and it didn't matter to him what color the reporter was, so long as they could do that for him." What really made Share stand out was its positive spin on the news. If I want to read about crime in the black & Caribbean community, I'd read the Toronto Sun News Paper - Auguste was onced reported to have said.


In the early day although initial reaction to the paper was very positive, someone did not like what he was doing. After the third issue his work place and apartment was fire bombed causing him to lose all his possessions. Though it was a major personal and financial setback, Auguste remained undeterred. He found a new place to live and work and continued producing Share almost without a hitch. Share never loss money and has become a 32 page weekly news paper reaching 150 000 people in the Black and Caribbean community across Southern Ontario and Montreal and Arnold is no longer in an apartment but now the owner of many prime Real Estate properties.


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Librarian & Community Activist - Dr Rita Cox

Edited by Kemet Newsletter (2014)


Born in Trinidad, Dr. Cox always wanted to be a librarian even from very young and studied in New York. She grew up in an oral tradition with books and libraries. As master storyteller she believed being a storyteller and a children's librarian were synonymous and she did not mean only to read stories, but tell stories.  She has published a number of books including her famous children's book entitled - How Trouble Made the Monkey Eat Pepper. She believe even if a story comes from a different source you have to make a story your own in order to share it.


Recognized as a Canadian icon, community activist and admired leader in the Black and Caribbean community, Dr. Rita Cox joined Toronto Public Library as a children's librarian in 1960. In 1974, she became the head of Parkdale Branch, where she remained until her retirement in 1995. During her tenure, Dr. Cox launched literacy programs and other initiatives that promoted multiculturalism and literacy throughout Toronto. Her work touched the lives of the entire community, particularly children and newcomers.


In 1973, Dr. Cox pioneered the Black Heritage and West Indian Resource Collection, which was renamed the Black and Caribbean Heritage Collection in 1998. It soon became one of the most comprehensive collections of its kind in Canada. Today, it continues to be a source of pride in the community. As a renowned storyteller she has enchanted and entertained audiences across North America, Europe, Brazil and the Caribbean. She has also maintained the Library's storytelling legacy by training a whole new generation of storytellers, many of whom are current library staff.


She has won numerous awards, including the 1996 Canadian Library Association Public Service Award and the Black Achievement Award. In 1997, Dr. Cox was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada for her outstanding work in storytelling and literacy. She also received an honorary degrees from York and Wilfred Laurier Universities and was appointed to the notable position of Citizenship Court Judge by the Government of Canada.


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