CARIBBEAN COUSINS SHINE IN CANADA
TORONTO, Canada (March 31, 2011) – The Caribbean Connection comes from Toronto, Canada this week where I went for a change from the New York scenery – a break from the bustle of the city. Unfortunately, I also had to contend with even colder temperatures – quite the adjustment for this warm-blooded West Indian, but change is always good.
CAPTION: Justice Irving André of Dominica.
Travel shouldn’t be a privilege for those who can afford it – but a right, especially for our young people. As I approach almost four decades on terra firma, I continue to appreciate the benefits of experiencing new things, meeting new people, while continuing to shape my world view and seeing life from new and illuminating perspectives.
While up here, I was particularly inspired to learn of the accomplishments of many Caribbean people who have made Canada their home. From Michael Lee Chin, the Jamaican billionaire, to Haitian Michaëlle Jean, Canada’s former Governor General, Caribbean-Canadians have distinguished themselves in all spheres of life over on the Third Border.
While attending a benefit gala for the University of the West Indies at the Four Seasons in Toronto, I was inspired by an encounter with Justice Irving André of Dominica who, along with Lee Chin and Jean, was among the honorees at the fundraiser which saw a Mercedes Benz fetch CAD$105,000 during the live auction.
Justice André is one of the first justices in the Ontario Court of Justice to hold a doctorate degree in law and, while adjudicating law, he writes books, keeps abreast with political developments back home in the Caribbean and inspires the youth on the importance of linking discipline with success. How does he have the time to do so much? He is quick to answer that he does not believe in reincarnation and it is important to make this life count.
Dr. André’s spirit and his eloquence remind me of the late Jamaican Professor Rex Nettleford who promoted all things excellent that emanated from the Caribbean region.
Both gentlemen are Caribbean treasures. Their stories and those of their peers should be shared far and wide so that our youth can be assured that all things are possible once they believe.
As I return to The Big Apple, I am inspired by my Caribbean brothers and sisters to make the most of each day by applying faith with work. Now, I shall prepare for a future detour from the bustle of the city for I also have learned that balance is the key to life.