Canadian Healthcare team prepares for Caribbean mission

By Lincoln DePradine

From left: Dr Christopher Morgan, Vanessa Alexis & Dr George Mitchell

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the accompanying worldwide societal lockdown, forced the cancellation of many activities, including a planned 2020 visit to Grenada by a volunteer team of Canadian health professionals.

Team members now are ready to make the trip that would take them to Carriacou, which is part of Grenada.

“We are about to go on our third mission,’’ announced Vanessa Alexis, founding-president of Smiles Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique (GCP).

Alexis, a dental hygienist at Dr Sheridan Cyrus Dentistry in Malvern, was speaking last Saturday at a $60 fundraising “cocktail party’’, with proceeds to be allocated to the trip to Carriacou in June.

“This fundraising tonight is extremely important because it helps us to pay for the equipment and our supplies to make our next mission a success,’’ said Alexis, who was born on Carriacou.

Volunteers also pay their own airfares, as well as for accommodation while in the Caribbean.

Previous visits were made in 2018 and 2019, with assistance offered not only in dental care but also with the presence of other professional service providers such as Toronto chiropractor Dr Christopher Morgan, whose father was born in Grenada.

Dr Cyrus, a dental surgeon, has not only assisted Smiles GCP, but also has engaged in other activities in Grenada such as providing dental services to inmates at the island’s lone prison at Richmond Hill in St George’s, the capital.

He also has arranged for Canadian correctional officers to provide training in St George’s for Grenadian prison and police officers.

The dental and healthcare exercises have been “growing’’, said Alexis, who expressed appreciation to Smile GCP’s donors and sponsors.

Cyrus, owner and operator of Sheridan Cyrus Dentistry in Scarborough’s Malvern community, is her mentor, Alexis said.

“I am truly grateful for your input and your support,’’ Alexis told Cyrus. “Without you, Smiles would not have been able to have two successful missions to Grenada.’’

Cyrus and former Grenada schoolmate, Dr George Mitchell, both appealed for support for the Smiles GCP project.

Mitchell, who is retired from the Grenada public service and is visiting Toronto, was the country’s chief medical officer (CMO) when the Smiles GCP team visited in 2018 and 2019.

“I really need you to support this venture because it’ a worthwhile venture,’’ said Mitchell.

The ex-CMO said the services from the Canadians have had an impact on the health, self-esteem and self-confidence of hundreds of Grenadians.

“I really do appreciate, from deep down, what Dr Cyrus and his team have done for the people of Grenada,’’ said Mitchell.