Making that positive Difference
Posted: Wednesday, May 20, 2009
By Darren Joseph
May 20, 2009
Two weekends ago, on May 2, St Mary’s College Past Students Union held its biennial dinner at the college. Of particular interest were the conversations I had with some of those who entered the college in 1958.
logoThere was a good turnout of students who entered in 1958, as they used the biennial dinner as an opportunity to have a class reunion. The idea for the reunion came from Nestor Lambert, and was co-ordinated by Michael Toney. Michael explained to me that the PNM had just come into power in 1956 with the promise of free secondary education for all. As a first step, the number of people who were granted College Exhibition scholarships was significantly increased.
The result was that more children from all over the country were granted access to the so-called prestige secondary schools than ever before. The list of those 1958 government exhibitioners, in order of merit, is on the Past Students Union site: www.cicpsu.org. Familiar names include Anthony Franklin, Ian Brunton, Trevor Farrell, Ramsey Saunders, Brian Kuei Tung, Dennis Renwick, Badri Rickhi, Gerald Yetming, Franklyn Lewis Vivian, Manswell and Rudolph Hyles. Dennis Renwick now lives in Canada, and was among those who visited Trinidad and Tobago specifically for the reunion.
Others in the “Toronto posse” included “Checky” Yew Woon, Joe Springer, David Trotman, Rudolph Hyles, Errol Chang, Frank Knox, Edson Thomas and Selwyn Rouse. It was the first time in nine years that Dennis had set eyes on our sunny shores. We chatted about how much change he had seen in T&T over the years. Dennis is one of those who enjoy talking about multiple subject areas. He spoke on areas as varied as the growing power of the green movement, religion and even cultural imperialism via the media.
Dennis also mentioned some former students who are doing well in their particular areas.
Personally, I feel proud when I hear about Trinidadians and Tobagonians who are doing well and making a positive impact internationally. By doing well, I do not necessarily mean materially. Simply put, these are people who have achieved what they set out to achieve. It could be greatness in the performing arts, sports or in charity work. Right here in T&T we have produced so many talented men and women who have gone on to touch many lives, both locally and internationally.
We have so many reasons to be proud of ourselves and our country. I think that we could never do enough to acknowledge our beautiful and talented people. Prof Ramsey Saunders is one of these people I admire. I did not have the pleasure of speaking with him in person that evening, but I would definitely have liked to. According to his biography on the Past Students Union Web site, he has spent much of his life teaching and carrying out research, mainly at UWI, St Augustine.
Some of his achievements include his collaborating with colleagues in Germany and Sweden, in 2004, to produce the first in-vitro nano-plaques for Alzheimer’s disease. Also on three occasions he has been invited by the Nobel Committee for Physics to make nominations for the Nobel Prize in Physics. For another example of a Trini who has done well, Dennis Renwick suggested that I “Google” his former classmate, Badri Rickhi, who also resides in Canada. I did, and on www.camspecialistsconnect.com discovered that this son of the soil is a physician with a specialist degree in psychiatry.
He is the founder and director of the Research Centre for Alternative Medicine, now known as the Canadian Institute of Natural and Integrative Medicine, where he holds the position of research chair. He is also an associate clinical professor at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, and a vice president of the Canadian Medical Acupuncture Society. The biography states that Dr Rickhi is currently involved in philanthropic projects that endeavour to clothe and feed the poor, as well as aid the physically challenged.
He completed, recently, a project to open a free hospital in one of the poorest areas of India. As always, I end by saying that despite our challenges, we are so blessed to live in this beautiful country. We need to remember and acknowledge just how much uplifting work is being done all around us. Let us continue to have the audacity of hope in our country, as we move towards Vision 2020.
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