By Gerald V. Paul
“I literally grew up with medicine all around me as my dad Dr. Chetram Singh was in charge of the Georgetown Public Hospital,” Dr. Narendra Chetram Singh told the Eyes Guy at the elegant Toronto Arya Samaj / Vedic Cultural Centre last Saturday during their award presentations, dinner and musical evening.
The distinguished gathering recognized Singh and MPP Bas Balkissoon for their outstanding achievements, contributions and service to the community and encouraged them to continue their good work in helping to identify role models for youth and bringing the community together.
It was also a taste of things to come: Deepavali.
“Let me take this opportunity to wish the entire Guyanese community, Shubh Diwali. Let us celebrate the festival of lights, the good that has been done and continues to be done,” Guyana’s Honourary Consul-General Sattie Sawh said, adding, “may we have an enjoyable evening and not forget the motto of the Arya Samaj: Krinvanto Vishvam Aryam – Let’s make the World Noble.”
Singh and Balkissoon joined the ranks of previous noble recipients: Jay Brijpaul, president of the Caribbean Children Foundation (TCCF) and businessman; Sash Sawh, minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Crops (Guyana) and community worker, and Dhaman Kissoon, barrister at law and dedicated community worker.
Guyana-born Singh, recipient of the Prix d’excellence (Specialist of the Year) by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, last year, is the Interim chief of staff and chief of pediatrics at Humber River Regional Hospital in Toronto and is an associate clinical professor at McMaster University, University of Toronto and Queens University.
And while Singh is serving as the program director for the pediatric postgraduate program at the University of Guyana and an external examiner for the University of Guyana, he is the president and founder of Guyana Help The Kids Charity (GHTK).
“This organization has worked in collaboration with the University of Guyana, the Ministry of Health and the Georgetown Public Hospital to develop a pediatric postgraduate residency program.. In addition we have raised funds in Canada to purchase equipment to open a new 24-bed neonatal intensive care unit at the main hospital in Georgetown, Guyana, and concurrently are working on doing the same for all of the regional hospitals in Guyana,” Singh revealed.
Sawh noted “Dr. Nar Singh, president of the Guyana Help The Kids Foundation, has been able to help change the lives of many people through his compassionate vision and dynamic leadership. He has helped to deliver hope, comfort, care and treatment in order to assist countless Guyanese children in their need for medical care.”
Sawh said Balkissoon is “a true Caribbean brother in Canada (who) has made an indelible contribution to the multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-dimensional, and multi-talented Canadian family. His name has become synonymous with politics and community life in the Greater Toronto Area, especially in Scarborough region, and he has helped to make this country the wonderful cultural mosaic that it is and will continue to be.”
Trinidad and Tobago born Balkissoon, a highly respected community leader and worker, was first elected in 1988 to municipal government as a councillor for the City of Scarborough and then to the amalgamated City of Toronto in 1997, serving a total of 17 years. He played a key role in exposing many inappropriate business dealings, in particular, the MFP computer leasing scandal in Toronto, while chair of the city’s audit committee.
He is currently parliamentary assistant to the minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services and deputy speaker and chairman of the Committee of the Whole House in the Legislature.
“Those who serve humanity are indeed special persons. Doing good for others out of compassion is good but the service (Seva) of all beings in the spirit of the Lord is better. Servicing the poor, the sick, the less fortunate is indeed an unselfish act. The examples set by these two individuals with no expectation of anything in return must be recognized and appreciated inspiring others to emulate,” said Anand Rupnarain, president, Toronto Arya Samaj and chairman, Vedic Cultural Centre.