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GOPIO NEWS

SPECIAL BULLETIN

June 30, 2014

A Publication of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)

Issue: XIII-5June 30, 2014
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In This Issue
GOPIO ORGANIZES SUCCESSFUL 25th ANNIVERSARY JUBILEE CONVENTION
GOPIO LIFE MEMBERSHIP AND CHAPTER FORMATION
EDITORIAL BOARD
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GOPIO is a community supported non-profit organization taking up issues of the Indian Diaspora and attempting to unifying the community in its common causes. Support GOPIO by becoming a Life Member or chapter member. Once can become Life Member online by visiting http://www.gopio.net/online_membership.html.

GOPIO ORGANIZES SUCCESSFUL 25th ANNIVERSARY JUBILEE  CONVENTION 

  

The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO International) has concluded its 25th Anniversary (Jubilee) Convention 2014 in Port of Spain in Trinidad & Tobago, with a memorable and successful celebration from 27th May through 30th May, 2014 coinciding with the 169th anniversary of Indian Arrival Day commemoration in Trinidad & Tobago. The convention theme was "Indian Diaspora Today & Tomorrow".

 

GOPIO Jubilee Convention 2014 - Souvenir Brochure  

The convention was a historic event in the Indian Diaspora, attended by delegates from several countries where GOPIO is prominent - where persons of Indian origin reside in substantial numbers, and many from countries with fewer than 10% of the population. Countries include: Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Malaysia, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, India, Reunion Island, Mauritius, South Africa, Netherlands and other countries of the European Union (EU), United Kingdom, Canada, USA, the Caribbean region: Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Belize, St. Vincent, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Jamaica, Grenada and St Lucia.

 

Among the many events of the convention, some of the notable highlights include: A notable welcome reception at the Diplomatic Centre residence of Trinidad & Tobago Prime Minsiter Kamla Persad-Bissessar; GOPIO's elections for new officers; GOPIO International Council Meetings; an all-day academic conference based on the convention theme of "Indian Diaspora Today & Tomorrow"; GOPIO delegates as special guests at cultural performances held at National Cultural of Indian Culture (NCIC); and unveiling of a historic arrival monument at Waterloo-by-the-Sea marking the first arrivals of indentured Indian laborers in Trinidad on 30th May 1845.

 

GOPIO 25th Anniversary Convention Team

 

The convention team organized around the GOPIO chapter in Trinidad & Tobago, worked diligently with dedicated and focused efforts to plan, coordinate and hold a magnificent GOPIO milestone convention in a country distant from the other regular venues which GOPIO has used over the years for its major events. Members of the convention team:  Ena Maraj, (Convention Co-Convener, president of GOPIO International chapter of Trinidad & Tobago); Dr. Arnold Thomas, (General Convener & Conference Co-Coordinator,  GOPIO International Coordinator Caribbean (St Vincent); other convention team members: Ramdai Sookdeo (Convention Secretary); Mahadaye Ramlagan (Registration & Assistant Treasurer); Seeta Sahatoo (Assistant Convention Secretary; Shalima Mohammed (Public Relations Coordinator, (Indian Arrival Monument Co-Coordinator); Navin Rampersad (Treasurer); Geeta Sahatoo (Hospitality Coordinator); Karran Nancoo (Legal Advisor); Dr. Kumar Mahabir (Conference Co-Coordinator); Ramnarine Bissoon (Arrival Project Liaison, Community Coordinator, Conference Site Co-Coordinator); Dr. Indrani Rampersad (Conference Co-Coordinator); Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh (Conference Co-Coordinator); Dr. Visham Bhimull (Youth Program Coordinator); Marilyn Hosein (Events Coordinator & Transportation Coordinator); Molly Mangray, Amanda Gangaram, Rowena Singh and Vanita Rampersad (Administrative and Support Coordinators); Deo Gosine (Grand Patron, Special Projects Coordination and Support); Aleem Mohammed (Community Liaison); Don Khan (Indian Arrival Monument Facilities & Hospitality Coordinator); Ramesh Kalicharan (Souvenir Brochure); Netram Rambudhan (Convention Assistant Treasurer & GOPIO International Treasurer); Seeta Sahatoo & Mahadaye Ramlagan (Delegates' Souvenir Welcome Kit); Nohar Singh (Delegates' Travel & Holiday Packages); Munish Gupta (Conference Site Co-Coordinator & GOPIO Jubilee & Life Membership Recognition).

 

GOPIOP JUbilee Convention 2014 Team

 Photo above: Some of the members of the Convention team with GOPIO Officials

 

Convention Advisors: Sunny Kulathakal; Munish Gupta; Dr. Piyush Agrawa; Umesh Chandra; Dr. Thomas Abraham; Dr. Sai Giridhar; J. Nami Kaur; Amb. R. Dayakar; Netram Rambudhan; Rajindre Tewari; Dr Jagat Motwani; Loshni Naidoo; Dr. Sushila Gidwani-Buschi; Dr. Renuka Misra; Sudha Acharya; Prof. Clem Sankat; Ramesh Kalicharan; Prof. Brindsley Samaroo; Balkrishna Naipaul; Prof. Mahin Gosine; Anita Bhat; Alkesh Sharma; Mahavir Arya; several council chairpersons and co-chairpersons; life members and chapter members.

 

Grand Patrons & Advisors:

Surichange Bank NV, Suriname (Dr C. Baidjnath Misier, founder & chairman)

Labidco Port Services Ltd - Trinidad & Tobago (Deo Gosine, founder & chairman)

  

GOPIO International Council Meetings

 

GOPIO International Council convened at the Radisson Hotel in Port of Spain shortly after the conclusion of GOPIO' Executive Council meeting on 28th May, 2014. After opening remarks, President Ramsaran reported major activities of GOPIO in his terms which was followed by financial report by Treasurer Netram Rambudhan. GOPIO Foundation report was presented by Executive Trustee Dr. Thomas Abraham which was followed by GOPIO International Coordinators reporting their activities for the regions.
 
GOPIO's outgoing Executive Council team  Photo above: GOPIO's outgoing Executive Council Team
 

GOPIO Executive Council Elections & New Team

  

Nominating Committee headed by Rajindre Tewari conducted the election for the 2014 to 2015 for the various positions in the Executive Council of GOPIO International. The following officials were elected by unanimous vote:

 

  • o    President - Ashook Ramsaran
  • o    Executive Vice President - Sunny Kulathakal
  • o    Senior Vice President - Dr. Piyush Agrawal
  • o    International Coordinator North America - Dr. Renuka Misra
  • o    International Coordinator Caribbean. - Dr. Arnold Thomas
  • o    Chairman GOPIO International, Inder Singh, was elected for another term.

 

GOPIO Elected Officials for 2014-2015.  

Photo Above: GOPIO Elected Officials for 2014-2015. GOPIO Chairman Inder Singh, President Ashook Ramsaran, Executive Vice President Sunny Kulathakal, Senior Vice President Dr. Piyush Agrawal, International Coordinator North America, Dr. Renuka Misra, and International Coordinator Caribbean, Dr. Arnold Thomas.

 

All previously appointed positions expired on May 28, 2014 with the end of the previous term and new appointments of suitably qualified candidates will be announced shortly after GOPIO' Executive Council approval.

 

GOPIO By-Laws Updates approved:

No changes except corrections of errors, omissions, spelling and nomenclature mistakes -

Per list circulated previously and read by Chairman Inder Singh.

GOPIO International Council circulated 30 days in advance to general membership and life members.

GOPIO to organize membership feedback and commentary via website.

Chapter delegates eligible for voting to be further clarified and defined relative to membership.

GOPIO has not conformed to its mandate in accordance with Clause 1 - Name and Purpose: The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (abbreviated as GOPIO) is a secular, nonpartisan, non-sectarian, not-for-profit global organization engaged in prompting the well being of non resident Indians and people of Indian origin, enhancing interaction and communication between these groups living in different countries and in furthering their linkages with India. 

 

Reception at Prime Minister's Residence

 

  Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar SpeakingA highlight of GOPIO's 25th Anniversary Jubilee Convention 2014 was the special welcome reception of all GOPIO delegates at the Diplomatic Centre residence of the Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar on 28th May. The reception was hosted by Ministry of National Diversity and Social Integration with Minister Dr Roger Samuel making the initial remarks after a welcome prayer by Brother Harripersad Maharaj, followed by remarks by GOPIO International president Ashook Ramsaran and presentation of gifts. Prime Minister Bissessar formally welcomed GOPIO's delegates, recounted GOPIO's special reception/dinner during the visit to the Kolkata Memorial on 12th January, 2012 and thanked GOPIO for "holding its 25th Anniversary Jubilee Convention in the twin islands of Trinidad & Tobago".

 

GOPIO made presentations of gifts and books to Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar: Special Kashmiri shawl by Kedar N. Gupta (India); GOPIO 25th Anniversary Jubilee Souvenir Brochure by Ramesh Kalicharan, editor (USA); portrait and tribute to late Nelson Mandela by Rita Abraham (South Africa); books by Dr. Mahin Gosine (USA); Dr Jagat Motwani (USA); Balkrishna Naipaul (Canada); GOPIO 1st convention stamp by Dr. Thomas Abraham (USA); and book presentation by Dr C. Baidjnath Misier (Netherlands).

 

T&T Officials at the receiving line at the reception by Prime Minister Bissessar


 

  


 

 

 

 

 

 Photo: T&T officials in the receiving line to welcome GOPIO delegates

 

 

 

 

 

 

Business-to-Business Seminar

 

On 28th May, a Business-to-Business seminar featuring prominent scholars and business leaders was held at the Radisson Hotel. It was sponsored by Trinidad & Tobago's Ministry of Trade & Investment with focus to highlight the many economic opportunities of the Caribbean region at this convention.

 

Sessions included:

  • o    Investment & Trade Opportunities in Trinidad & Tobago;
  • o    Investment & Trade Opportunities in St Vincent & Grenadines;
  • o    Investment & Trade Opportunities in Guyana;
  • o    Success Stories of Doing Business in the Caribbean;
  • o    Free Enterprise, Market Economy and Business Successes;
  • o    The Growth of Education and Medical Services for Bi-Lateral Trade;
  • o    Media as Marketing Tool in Emerging Economies

 

Speakers and presenters were: Dr. Chan Misier (Chairman, Surichange Bank NV, Netherlands & Suriname); Dr Yesu Persaud, Chairman Demerara Bank, Demerara Distilleries (Guyana); Deo Gosine (Founder & President of Labidco Port Services, Trinidad & Tobago), Dr. Sid Gautam (Center for Entrepreneurship, USA), Ishwar Ramlutchman (Founder & Chairman, AC Industrial, South Africa); Ashok Motwani (DNN News, India).

 

Romanee Kalicharran (USA) made a special film presentation of "The Voyage".

 

 

Academic Conference: "Indian Diaspora Today and Tomorrow" 

The Academic Conference segment of the convention was a full 1-day event held on 29th May at the Radisson Hotel. There were several sessions designed round the convention theme of "Indian Diaspora Today & Tomorrow" The chief guest at the Inaugural Session was Indian High Commissioner HE Gauri Gupta and the keynote speaker Dr Mahin Gosine, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at State University of New York, USA. Dr. Kumar Mahabir, Assistant Professor at University of Trinidad and Tobago, concluded the session.

 

Conference Sessions:

Inaugural Session I: Indian Diaspora Today & Tomorrow

Session II: The Indian Diaspora: Issues, Challenges & Opportunities

Session III: Global & Regional Diaspora Investments & Economic Opportunities

Session IV: Diaspora's Youth, Children, Gender & Inter-Generational Issues

Session V:  Multi-Cultural Diversity & Inter-Ethnic Cooperation in the Indian Diaspora

Session VI:  Education, Science & Technology as Significant Assets in the Indian Diaspora

Session VII: Health, Wellness, Lifestyle & Nutritional Factors in the Indian Diaspora

Session VIII: GOPIO's 25th Anniversary Resolutions

Session IX: Wrap-up & Conclusion

 

Inaugural Session I: Indian Diaspora Today & Tomorrow

Session Chairperson: Dr. Arnold Thomas (St Vincent)

Session Co-Chairperson: Dr. Kumar Mahabir (Trinidad and Tobago)

Program:

  • o    Introductory Remarks: Dr. Arnold Thomas (St Vincent)
  • o    Welcome: Ena Maraj (Convener, Trinidad and Tobago)
  • o    Remarks: Inder Singh (Chairman, GOPIO International, USA)
  • o    Remarks: Ashook Ramsaran (President, GOPIO International, USA)
  • o    Remarks: Dr. Jagat Motwani (Founding Life Member, GOPIO International, USA)
  • o    Introduction of Keynote Speaker: Deo Gosine (GOPIO Life Member, TnT)
  • o    Keynote Speaker: Dr Mahin Gosine, Prof of Sociology and Anthropology at SUNY, USA
    • Focusing on the Indian Diaspora and the story of "From Scars to Stars"
  • o    Introduction of Indian High Comm.: Ms. Mahadaye Ramlagan (GOPIO Chapter TnT)
  • o    Remarks by Indian High Commissioner Gauri S. Gupta
    • Focusing on the progress of the Indian Diaspora in the Caribbean Region
  • o    Presentation of Tokens: Ms. Shalima Mohammed (GOPIO Chapter Trinidad and Tobago)
  • o    Book Releases (Listed above): Moderator:  J. Nami Kaur (Secretary, GOPIO Int'l, USA)
  • o    Conclusion: Dr. Kumar Mahabir (Co-Chairperson, Trinidad and Tobago)
  • o    Thanks & Appreciation: Dr. Arnold Thomas (Chairperson, St Vincent)

GOPIO Officials with High Commissioner Gauri S. Gupta  Photo above: GOPIO Officials with Indian High Commissioner Gupta

 

Session II: The Indian Diaspora: Issues, Challenges & Opportunities

Session Chairperson: Umesh Chandra (International Coordinator, Oceania - Australia)

Session Co-Chairperson: T. Ramappa (GOPIO Chapter of Bangalore, India)

Speakers & Program:

  • o    Dr. Winston Tolan (Jamaica, West indies)
  • o    Dr. Kumar Mahabir (Trinidad and Tobago)
  • o    Prof. Parmatma Saran (USA)
  • o    Q/A: Moderator - Umesh Chandra (Session Chairperson, Australia)
  • o    Conclusion: T. Ramappa (Session Co-Chairperson, GOPIO of Bangalore, India)
  • o    Presentation of Tokens: Ms. Nadira Narine & Ms. Camelia Singh (GOPIO of Guyana)

 

Session III: Global & Regional Diaspora Investments & Economic Opportunities

Session Chairperson: Jeevan Zutshi (GOPIO Regional Coordinator, USA)

Session Co-Chairperson: Gem Madhoo-Nascimento (GOPIO of Guyana)

Speakers & Program:

  • o    Dr. Sid Gautam (USA)
  • o    Mr. Munish Gupta (USA/India)
  • o    Dr. Yesu Persaud (Guyana)
  • o    Conclusion:  Ms. Gem Madhoo-Nascimento (Session Co-Chairperson, Guyana)
  • o    Presentation of Tokens: Lucienne Sacarbany (GOPIO Martinique)
  • o    Thanks & Appreciation: Marilyn Hosein (GOPIO chapter of TnT)

 

Session IV: Diaspora's Youth, Children, Gender & Inter-Generational Issues

Session Chairperson: Ishwar Ramlutchman (South Africa)

Session Co-Chairperson: Jagdish Lodhia (GOPIO chapter Sydney NW, Australia)

Speakers & Program:

  • o    Dr. Kamla Tewarie (Trinidad and Tobago)
  • o    Rita Abraham (GOPIO's Women's Council, South Africa)
  • o    Sudha Acharya (SACSS, USA)
  • o    Tivesh Nair (Youth - GOPIO Cape Town, South Africa)
  • o    Uresha Moodley (Youth - GOPIO Cape Town, South Africa)
  • o    Dr. Bisham Bhimull (GOPIO Trinidad and Tobago)
  • o    Conclusion:  Jagdish Lodhia (Session Co-Chairperson, Australia)
  • o    Presentation of Tokens: Tara Gosine (USA/Trinidad and Tobago)

 Conf. Panel Family and Youth - Jagdish Lodhia Speaking Photo above: Conf. Panel Family and Youth - Jagdish Lodhia concluding the session

 

 

Session V:  Multi-Cultural Diversity & Inter-Ethnic Cooperation in the Indian Diaspora

Session Chairperson: Krishen D. Needar (Trinidad and Tobago)

Session Co-Chairperson: Romanee Kalicharran (USA)

Speakers & Program:

  • o    Balkrishna Naipaul (Canada)
  • o    Dr. Arnold Thomas (St Vincent)
  • o    Keith Compton (St Lucia)
  • o    Romanee Kalicharran - A special presentation of "The Voyage"
  • o    Shadel Nyack Compton (Grenada)
  • o    Conclusion:  Romanee Kalicharran (Session Co-Chairperson, USA)
  • o    Presentation of Tokens: Elie Shitlou, Claude Sheikboudhou  (Guadeloupe)

 Multi-Cultural Diversity & Inter-Ethnic Cooperation in the Indian Diaspora  Photo above: Conference panel on Multi-Cultural Diversity & Inter-ethnic Cooperation in the Indian Diaspora

 

Session VI:  Education, Science & Technology as Significant Assets in the Indian Diaspora

Session Chairperson: Ashok Motwani (India)

Session Co-Chairperson: Deo Gosine (Trinidad and Tobago)

Speakers & Program:

  • o    Dr. Thomas Abraham (USA)
  • o    Dr. Clem Sankat (University of West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago)
  • o    Dr. Gary Brar (AUB, Barbados)
  • o    Ashok Motwani (India)
  • o    Kewal Kanda (USA)
  • o    Conclusion:  Deo Gosine (Session Co-Chairperson, Trinidad and Tobago)
  • o    Presentation of Tokens: Inder Singh (USA)

Conf. Panel Science and Tech Panel - Dr. Thomas Abraham Speaking  Photo above: Conf. Panel Science and Tech Panel - Dr. Thomas Abraham Speaking

  

Session VII: Health, Wellness, Lifestyle & Nutritional Factors in the Indian Diaspora

Session Chairperson: Dr. Renuka Misra (USA)

Session Co-Chairperson: Dr. Ramesh Pandey (USA)

Speakers & Program:

  • o    Dr. Vivian Rambihar (Canada)
  • o    Swami Chidananda (India)
  • o    Dr. C. Baidjnath Misier (Netherlands)
  • o    Dr. Rini Johar (USA)
  • o    Conclusion:  Dr. Ramesh Pandey (Session Co-Chairperson, USA)
  • o    Presentation of Tokens: Sylvia Perez (Belize); Yamonee Barbaro (USA)
Conference session on Health, Wellness, Lifestyle & Nutritional Factors in the Indian Diaspora
Photo above: Conference session on Health, Wellness, Lifestyle & Nutritional Factors in the Indian Diaspora. Dr. Renu Misra chairing the session,

 
Session VIII: GOPIO's 25th Anniversary Resolutions

 

Session Chairperson: Dr. Piyush Agrawal (USA)

Session Co-Chairperson: Harbachan Singh (USA)

Thanks & Appreciation: Farouk Samaroo (USA)

 

Session IX: Wrap-up & Conclusion

  

Session Chairperson: Dr. Arnold Thomas (St Vincent)

Speaker: Ashook Ramsaran (USA)

Thanks & Appreciation: Ena Maraj (Trinidad and Tobago)

 

 

 

Resolutions

On 28th May at Session VII "GOPIO Resolutions- GOPIO's 25th Anniversary Jubilee Convention 2014", chaired by Dr. Piyush Agrawal, the following resolutions were adopted for action by GOPIO and advisory/notification to respective government and agencies:

 

  • o    Salutations to Indian Democracy & Fair General Elections in India
  • o    Enhancing the Relationship between India & its Diaspora
  • o    Streamlining the process of Indian Consular Services
  • o    Review of OCI/PIO/OIC Policies Needed
  • o    Proposal for International Indian Emigration Day
  • o    India's Opportunity to Engage the Diaspora
  • o    GOPIO's Continuing Efforts at Outreach to the Diaspora
  • o    Limitations on Import/Export of Indian Currency on NRIs/PIOs
  • o    Towards a More Peaceful Co-Existence of PIOs in Multi-Ethnic Societies
  • o    Indian Visas On Arrival Program
  • o    Addressing Human Rights Violations in the Diaspora

 

These resolutions titled "GOPIO's 25th Anniversary Jubilee Convention 2014" are posted on GOPIO's website at www.gopio.net.

 

Book Releases

 

At the conclusion of Inaugural Session I: "Indian Diaspora Today & Tomorrow", the following books were released:

 

Balkrishna Naipaul (Canada): Sangam: The Jhansi Legacy

Indina High Commissioner Gauri Shanker Gupta: Unraveling Mysteries of Life

Dr. Yesu Persaud (Guyana): Reaching for the Stars - An Autobiography

Dr. Jagat Motwani (USA): India Reborn: Bharat Mahan as Perceived by Westerners

Dr. Mahin Gosine (USA): Eight Great Virtues of Leadership

Dr. Kumar Mahabir (Trinidad & Tobago): Indian Diaspora in the Caribbean

Dr. Chan Misier (Netherlands): Spiritual Management and Road to Eternity

Ramesh Kalicharan, Editor (USA): GOPIO 25th Anniversary Jubilee Convention Souvenir Brochure

 

The Moderator of the "Book Releases" segment was J. Nami Kaur, Secretary of GOPIO International

 

Release of books at the GOPIO Jubilee Convention 2014 in Trinidad and TobagoPhoto above: Book Release - GOPIO International Coordinator Caribbean, Dr. Arnold Thomas (St Vincent); Balkrishna Naipaul (founding Life Member, Canada); Dr. Yesu Persaud (founding Life Member, Guyana); Dr Kumar Mahabir (Co-Chair, GOPIO Academic Council, Trinidad & Tobago); Dr. Jagat Motwani (founding Life Member, USA); Shri Gauri Gupta, Indian High Commissioner to Trinidad & Tobago); Dr. Mahin Gosine (Co-Chair, GOPIO Academic Council, USA); J. Nami Kaur (Secretary, GOPIO International, USA)

 

Jubilee Recognition Awards Gala

 

The Jubilee Recognition Gala was another highlight of GOPIO's 25th Anniversary (Jubilee) Convention 2014, held on 29th May, 2014 in the Grand Ballroom at the Radisson Hotel in Port of Spain. In attendance was Indian High Commissioner to Trinidad & Tobago, Shri Gauri Gupta; Trinidad & Tobago's Minister of Trade & Investment, Dr. Vasant Bharath; and Min. Ramona Ramdial, Minister in the Ministry of Environment & Water Resources. The event was emceed by prominent radio and television host Zelisa Boodoosingh and was broadcast live courtesy of Dr Hans Hanoomansingh (Heritage Radio).

  GOPIO Jubilee Recognition Awardees with Dignitaries and GOPIO Officials

Photo above: GOPIO Jubilee Recognition Awardees with Minister Dr. Vasant Bharath, Min Ramona Ramdial, Indian High Commissioner Shri Gauri Gupta and GOPIO Officials

 

GOPIO's Jubilee Recognition for outstanding achievements in selected categories were accorded to several persons "who contributed to the betterment of people of the Indian Diaspora. The Jubilee Recognition recipients achieved significant and prominent levels of stature and recognition in their respective fields of endeavor and have served interests of people in their respective countries of domicile and others as well, in addition to generating pride and respect among the Indian Diaspora and others in country of birth or domicile". Each GOPIO's Jubilee Recognition awardee (or representative for posthumous recognition) was presented with a GOPIO Jubilee award.

 

Posthumous Recognition:Henri Sidambaron (Guadeloupe); Dr. Najma Sultana (USA); Baleshwar Agrawal (India); Lall Paladee (Trinidad & Tobago); Dr Cheddi Jagan (Guyana).

Friends of GOPIO: HE Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent & Grenadines; Hon Albert Ramdin, Deputy Secretary General of Organization of American States (USA); Hon. Chandrikapersad Santokhi Chairman of Progressive Reform Party (Suriname).

Professional, Civic, Culture, Entrepreneurship, Media, Philanthropy: National Indian Cultural Centre - NCIC (Trinidad & Tobago); John Barath (Trinidad & Tobago); Brenda Gopeesingh (Trinidad & Tobago); Dr. Hans Hanoomansingh (Trinidad & Tobago); Sattaur Gafoor (Guyana); Dr Yesu Persaud (Guyana); Chancellor of Judiciary & Chief Justice Carl Singh (Guyana); Dr C. Baidjnath Misier (Netherlands); Dr. Lakshmi Persaud (United Kingdom); Ishwar Ramlutchman (South Africa); Nicole Vaitylingon (Guadeloupe); Kamaludin Mohammed (Trinidad & Tobago); Dr. Vivian Rambihar (Canada); Ashok Motwani (India); Dr. Parmatma Saran (USA); Dr. Sudhir Parikh (USA); TV Asia H R Shah (USA); India Abroad (USA); Kedar N. Gupta (India); Israel Khan (Trinidad & Tobago).

 

In addition to recognition of those who contributed to GOPIO's formation in 1989. The First Convention Convener Dr. Thomas Abraham introduced co-conveners Sudha Acharya and Dr. Jagat Motwani and other founding life members and invited them to the stage.  

GOPIO Life Members at Inception in 1989 Present at the T& Jubilee ConventionPhoto above: Some GOPIO Founding Life Members at GOPIO inception in 1989 who were present at the Jubilee Convention

 

GOPIO also recognized the newest life members since 6th January, 2014 in attendance, with plaques and new life membership lapel pins: They included Yamonee Barbaro (USA); Balkrishna Naipaul (Canada); Deo Gosine (Trinidad & Tobago); Sasenarine Sankar (Guyana); Claude Sheikboudhou (Guadeloupe); Elie Shitalou (Guadeloupe); Shaji SM Alex (India); Shaji Baby John (India).

 

GOPIO Life Members in 2014  Photo above: GOPIO Life Members in 2014

 

Special recognition was accorded to GOPIO's 25th Anniversary (Jubilee) Convention 2014 grand patrons: Surichange Bank NV (Dr C. Baidjnath Misier, Netherlands) and Labidco Port Services Ltd (Deo Gosine, Trinidad & Tobago).

 

Indian Arrival Monument at Waterloo-by-the-Sea

 

The Indian Arrival Monument at Waterloo-by-the-Sea was unveiled on 30th May 2014, the 169th anniversary of Indian Arrival Day in Trinidad & Tobago, another significant and historic marker of the journey of Indian migration to other lands for better livelihood. The monument is another commemorative milestone marker in honored tribute and well deserved recognition of the first arrivals of indentured Indian laborers in Trinidad & Tobago. This project was initiated by GOPIO president Ashook Ramsaran in similar manner as with the Kolkata Memorial in India (2011) and Indian Arrival Monument in Guyana (2013). It was supported by the Indian High Commission of Trinidad & Tobago and the Ministry of Local Government - Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation.

 

The site at Waterloo-by-the-Sea was selected as an appropriate setting for the tribute to first arrivals of Indian indentured laborers to the shores of Trinidad & Tobago. The unveiling was attended by Trinidad & Tobago's Minister Dr. Suruj Rambachan MP (Works and Infrastructure), Minister Ramona Ramdial (Minister of State in the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources), Counselors Abdool and Seepersad, Couva Regional Chairman Henry Awong, among many others officials. GOPIO International President Ashook Ramsaran and Indian High Commissioner HE Gauri Gupta unveiled the monument in the presence of hundreds of people including several "legacy generation" persons, a few over 100 years old. This was followed by an authentic Indian lunch served Caribbean style.

 

Among the many legacy honorees were: Samoondarie Doon; Sewdass Sadhu (builder of Temple by the Sea), Samdaye Sewdass (wife of Sewdasss Sandhu) and 110-years old Sughari Jattan.

 

The inscription, patterned after the Kolkata Memorial in India and Indian Arrival Monument at Highbury in Guyana, read as follows: In honour of Indian indentured labourers whose arrival in Trinidad and Tobago began on 30th May 1845. In recognition of their pioneering spirit, sacrifices, endurance and determination to seek better livelihoods for themselves and their descendants. In gratitude for their invaluable contribution to the social, spiritual, cultural, economic and political development of Trinidad and Tobago".

ome of the Legacy Generation Residents of Trinidad & Tobago with dignitaries and GOPIO officials

Photo above: Some of the Legacy Generation Residents of Trinidad & Tobago with GOPIO officials, Indian High Commissioner Gauri Gupta, Trinidad & Tobago's Min. Dr. Suruj Rambachan, Min. Ramona Ramdial, Counselors Abdool & Seepersad, Couva Regional Chairman Henry Awong. Unveiling of Indian Arrival Monument at Waterloo-by-the-Sea

 

Hosting of GOPIO Delegates by NCIC

 

The National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC) hosted GOPIO delegates at its major events held at its Diwali Nagar complex in Chaguanas. NCIC president Dr. Deokinanan Sharma and Mr Surujdeo Mangaroo welcomed GOPIO delegates as NCIC's special guests. Special events were: 27th May: Concert -- famous Bhojpuri singer, Kalpana Patowary from Assam, India; 29th May - 169th Indian Arrival Day commemoration with a special treat of music, songs, dances, recitals and authentic Caribbean and authentic Indian foods with Caribbean styles and flavors. GOPIO's president Ashook Ramsaran and chairman Inder Singh presented its Global Indian Diaspora books to Dr. Deokinanan Sharma and Mr Surujdeo Mangaroo, while Dr C. Baidjnath Misier (Chairman of Surichange Bank NV, a grand patron of GOPIO's 25th Anniversary (Jubilee) Convention 2014, presented his book Spiritual Management and Road to Eternity to both Minister Dr. Suruj Rambachan and Indian High Commissioner Shri Gauri Shanker Gupta in attendance at the 169th Indian Arrival Day commemoration.

 

NCIC was highly supportive of GOPIO's 25th Anniversary (Jubilee) Convention 2014 by providing specially inscribed GOPIO Jubilee mementos to all speakers at GOPIO's 25th Anniversary conference held on 29th May, 2014 at Radisson Hotel in Port of Spain.

 

Hosting of GOPIO Delegates by NCIC in Trinidad and Tobago

Photo L-R: GOPIO Chairman Inder Singh; NCIC Vice President Surujdeo Mangaroo, GOPIO President Ashook Ramsaran; NCIC President Dr. Deokinanan Sharma

 

GOPIO 25th Anniversary Jubilee Souvenir Brochure

 

GOPIO 25th Anniversary Jubilee Convention 2014 souvenir brochure is a full color, 112-page bound, elaborately well designed, comprehensive keep sake publication distributed to all convention delegates and visitors, as well as mailed subsequently to worldwide officials, businesses, organizations. The brochure includes messages of congratulations and well wishes, articles and poems on GOPIO, the Indian Diaspora, issues of interest and concern, the convention program details, the convention and international team members, facts about GOPIO, its formation and history, as well as an extensive photo gallery.

 

Ramesh Kalicharan (USA), founding life member of GOPIO was the editor and Thomas Ittycharia of NC Production (New York, USA) was the designer and publisher.

 

Release of the GOPIO Jubilee Convention Souvenir Brochure  Photo: Release of GOPIO Jubilee Convention Souvenir Brochure at the opening plenary conference session by Indian High Commissioner Gauri S. Gupta. Souvenir brochure editor Ramesh Kalicharan is in the left.

 

 

Commentaries

 

School of Interdisciplinary and Trans-Disciplinary Studies at Indira Gandhi National Open University in Maidan Garhi, New Delhi reported that "GOPIO's 25th Anniversary Jubilee ignited the Diaspora Spirit". Umesh Chandra, GOPIO International Coordinator, Oceania (Brisbane, Australia): "Indeed a very successful convention, organisers did a wonderful job, coinciding with Indian arrival day added to the event".  Kewal Kanda, president of GOPIO Los Angeles, USA: "Very successful, well arranged and well coordinated convention. Enjoyed the whole convention. Many thanks to the GOPIO leaders and Convention conveners (TT Team). Beautiful host country". Bhupinder Chhibber, President - GOPIO Sydney: "Our compliments & thanks to organisers of this great event. They did a great job. Well done". T. Ramappa, GOPIO Bangalore Chapter: "My trip was wonderful and I really enjoyed the hospitality and the warmth of Trinidad with the GOPIO events being fulfilling, thanks to your and team's organization".

 

At the conclusion of the GOPIO 25th Anniversary Jubilee Convention 2014, GOPIO International Chairman Inder Singh remarked that, "this is the best GOPIO convention since its formation in 1989". GOPIO International President Ashook Ramsaran added that, "this silver jubilee convention is unparalleled in historical significance, with the special welcome, warmth and hospitality of the people of Trinidad & Tobago and the Caribbean region".

 

Message from GOPIO's President

 

It has been twenty five years of remarkable and unprecedented achievements by GOPIO with its expansive efforts to connect and interact with the global Indian community to monitor and address issues of interest, benefit and concern. GOPIO has become prominently established as the premier global advocacy organization of the Indian Diaspora. GOPIO's 25th Anniversary Jubilee Convention 2014 is a continuation of GOPIO's efforts towards that objective with its focus on "The Indian Diaspora: Today and Tomorrow".

 

The year 2013 has seen a remarkable level of GOPIO's outreach, growth, expansion and progress at all levels as we continue to "embrace, engage and enhance the Indian Diaspora". GOPIO's progress is evident at the international, regional, country and chapter levels; at the executive and council levels; with GOPIO addressing issues of interest and concern to the Indian Diaspora; GOPIO's close collaboration with governments (India and Diaspora countries), international agencies; GOPIO's planning and holding seminars and conferences in various parts of the Indian Diaspora; as well as GOPIO embarking on several significant and visionary projects of interest to our global Indian community. The objective for following two years is to build on the progress to date with more significant and meaningful achievements.

 

We look forward to continuing support, collaboration and cooperation from all of GOPIO's membership and others to make more progress in our efforts to address matters of interest and concern to the global Indian community. On behalf of GOPIO International and all who contributed time, talent, effort and resources towards a successful convention, I join in conveying our sincere thanks and appreciation to all GOPIO delegates, participants, officials, attendees and well wishers of this grand jubilee commemoration.

 

 

Patrons & Supporters

 

While the convention team organized around the GOPIO chapter in Trinidad & Tobago with support from all levels of GOPIO International, there was crucial support from private and public sources which contributed to the success of the convention. The convention was endorsed and supported by a wide cross section of public and private sectors as well as civic and cultural organizations, academicians and academic institutions, media and others. In addition, prominent persons of Indian origin and several Pravasi Samman Awardees also participated in the convention. The National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC) and attorney Karan Nancoo provided meeting facilities during the planning stages. There was special support by various ministries of the Government of Trinidad & Tobago as well as organizations, individuals and businesses. These include:

 

  • Office of the Prime Minister HE Kamla Persad Bissessar
  • Ministry of National Diversity and Social Integration headed by Minister Dr Roger Samuel.
  • Ministry of Trade & Investment headed by Minister Dr. Vasant Bharath
  • Ministry of Arts and Multi-Culturism headed by Minister Lincoln Douglas
  • Ministry of Housing and the Environment headed by Minister Dr. Roodal Moonilal
  • Hon. Chandresh Sharma, MP, Government of Trinidad & Tobago
  • Public Transport Service Corporation (General Manager Ronald Forde)
  • The Indian High Commission to Trinidad & Tobago, in particular Shri Gauri Gupta
  • National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC) headed by Dr. Deokinanan Sharma and Surujdeo Mangaroo.
  • Demerara Bank Ltd  and Guyana Distilleries Ltd (Guyana)
  • Helen Bhagwandinsingh and Brenda Goopesingh of Trinidad & Tobago
  • Media: PIO TV, WIN TV, Diaspora News Network, Heritage Radio Network
  • LaserCuts Ltd. for the design, fabrication and installation of the Indian Arrival Monument
  • Ramesh Kalicharan and Thomas Ittycharia for GOPIO 25th Anniversary Jubilee souvenir brochure
  • Radisson Hotel of Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
  • Messages of congratulations and good wishes from officials, organizations and individuals
  • GOPIO worldwide chapters, GOPIO councils, Life Members, delegates and membership

 

Besides their high level of financial support, the 2 grand patrons have also provided enormous assistance with consultation advice and logistics for several of the programs of the convention:

 

Grand Patron: Dr. C. Baidjnath Misier - founder, chairman Surichange Bank NV, Suriname.

 

www.scbbank.sr

  GOPIO Jubilee Convention 2014 Sponsor Surichange

Initially an exchange office, Surichange NV worked its way up to a solid bank. On 9 September 2010, Surichange Bank NV (SCB NV) commemorated its fifth anniversary. The bank has been growing steadily. The aim of the bank is to offer the right financial quality products to everyone. The SCB NV offers a coherent package of innovative banking investment and insurance products. Annually the SCB NV processes tens of millions of Euros from the Netherlands, which enter the country through our bank. These remittances / transfers are an important supplement to the income of many Suriname families. The counterpart of SCB NV in the Netherlands is Suri-Change BV, which is considered to be the biggest actor as regards remittances among the Suriname-Dutch community.

 

Surichange Bank NV

Dr. Sophie Redmondstraat nr 71, Paramaribo-Suriname

Ph: (597) 471-151/F: 474-554

E -mail: info@scbbank.sr   

 

Grand Patron: Deo Gosine - founder, president, Labidco Port Services Ltd, Trinidad & Tobago

www.labidcoport.com

 

  GOPIO Jubilee Conventioin 2014 - Labidco Port Services Ltd

 "Labidco Port Services Ltd has opened our New Port and Logistic Facility at Dock 3, National Energy Company Industrial Estate, La Brea, Trinidad. Our port is a privately operated free enterprise driven facility. Labidco Port Services Ltd and our associate companies are engaged in providing facilities and services for the Oil & Gas Service Industry in Trinidad & Tobago, the Southern Caribbean and parts of Latin America. We also operate a deep water (12.8 metre) International seaport with ISPS/ISM/HSE/OSHA compliance and is an authorized port of entry to Trinidad & Tobago with custom, immigration and health services on request. We are service oriented and sensitive to our industry needs and look forward to hearing from you so that we can tailor our services to meet your company's demand. Our company is staffed with personnel experienced in the Oil & Gas Service Industry and our principal has more than 40 years experience in serving the Oil & Gas Industry internationally".

 

LABIDCO PORT SERVICES LTD.

National Energy Co. Industrial Estate,  Dock 3, La Brea, Trinidad W.I.

868-651-1100 Tel, 868-648-8873,  868-651-1016 Fax
info@labidcoport.com

  

GOPIO LIFE MEMBERSHIP AND CHAPTER FORMATION

 

GOPIO is a non-partisan, non-sectarian global organization with chapters in several countries, actively promoting the interests of people of Indian origin worldwide by monitoring and addressing current critical issues of concern, and by enhancing cooperation and communication between groups of Indians living in various countries.

 

GOPIO Individual Life membership is open to all who believe in the mission of GOPIO. The one- time fee is $5,000 for Platinum Life Membership, $2,500 for Gold Life Membership and $1,500 Silver Life Membership and half the amount for each category for those from developing countries and India.

 

GOPIO is looking forward to opening chapters in all major cities of the world so as to network people of Indian origin all over the world. If you do not have chapter in your city, please visit GOPIO website (www.gopio.net) and get details of chapter initiation (visit http://www.gopio.net/chapter_initiative.htm). Process involves sending a letter of intent to start a chapter by a committee of five people or more. For more information, contact:

 

GOPIO Chairman - Inder Singh, Tarzana, California, USA, Tel: +1-818-708-3885, E-mail:  GOPIO.Global@gmail.com.

 

GOPIO President - Ashook Ramsaran, Fresh Meadows, New York, USA, Tel: 718/939-8194, E-mail: ramsaran@aol.com

 

GOPIO Executive Vice President - Sunny Kulathakal, Bahrain, Tel: +973 39441956 or +91 9845756692, E-mail: Kulathakal@yahoo.com

 

GOPIO Senior Vice President - Dr Piyush Agrawal, Weston, Florida, USA, Tel: +1-954-684-6494, E-mail:sudhapca@aol.com

 

To become a Life member of GOPIO, one can sign up online at http://gopio.net/online_membership.htm or fill up the form and send it with a check to: GOPIO International, PO Box 560117, New York NY 11356, USA.

EDITORIAL BOARD

 

Chief Editor: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Founder President and Chairman Emeritus of GOPIO Intl. and Executive Trustee, GOPIO Foundation (Stamford, CT, USA)

Editor: Nami Kaur, Secretary, GOPIO International (New York, USA)

Webmasters:Prashant Gupta (Hyderabad, India) and Abu Thomas (New Rochelle, NY, USA)   

Contributors of this issue: Ashook Ramsaran (President, GOPIO International), 

Dr Arnold Thomas (International Coordinator, Caribbean Region), Ena Maraj (Convention Convener), Dr Kumar Mahabir, Dr Jerome Teelucksingh and Shalima Mohammed (Convention PRO)

 
GOPIO NEWS welcomes NRI/PIO related stories from all over the world. Be a volunteer correspondent or reporter. 

 

Contact Dr. Thomas Abraham, Tel: 203-329-8010, E-mail: gopio@optonline.net.

 

Visit GOPIO's Official site at www.gopio.net or www.gopio.com