TRINGO: 45 years of building community

By Michael Lashley

I take great pleasure in celebrating the successes of others, particularly when those successes are achieved by a group that is steeped in community-building activities. It fits in nicely with one of my favourite principles of youth and community development: It takes a village to raise a child!

We can all take pride in the large number of associations of Caribbean people in this province whose members do a wide range of constructive work to uplift their respective communities and to open up opportunities for their younger generations to advance in their chosen careers.

So just a few weeks ago, I took to the dance floor with the members and guests of TRINGO, as they shared the culinary and musical delights of their annual Christmas dinner and dance and at the same time rejoiced over their four and a half decades of service to the Trinidad and Tobago community of the GTA. The event was held at Milliken Community Centre and was addressed by Scarborough-Rouge River MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan. Rathika used the opportunity to advocate for her initiative to end child poverty in Canada.

TRINGO is under the dynamic management of its President Selwyn Joseph and the four other members of the executive committee: Dennis Deyal, Hector Duncan, Camay Dyal and Brian Waithe. This dynamism has endured over the years and has been nurtured by previous teams headed by well-known presidents such as Errol Achue, David Wong and Maxim Yates.

This organization has focussed on ensuring healthy and active lifestyles, while using their social and other activities as fundraising mechanisms to garner resources to help the community, especially the youth.

Their annual program includes four social events, two of which are for the whole family; a live presentation by a health specialist on balanced living, called Doctor in the House; and DOS Day, which involves a day of spiritual enrichment. For DOS day this year, participants visited the shrine at Marmora.

In addition to the joys of nurturing relationships among members of the Trinidad and Tobago community, TRINGO helps to sustain the cultural attachment that its members feel towards the land of their birth.

The other key aspect of their contribution to the community is their scholarships program.This year four more youth were added to their long list of awardees whose first degrees and post- graduate studies have been financially supported by TRINGO.

TRINGO is fully aware of the challenge of passing the torch of community service to succeeding generations of Canadians of T&T ancestry. This is perhaps the single most important challenge faced by T&T organizations in Canada and a way has to be found to build the foundation for this.

One very viable mechanism that can be used to achieve this objective is to organize a T&T Community Centre Fund. All T&T organizations would be encouraged to make a commitment to realizing this worthy goal by contributing a small part of the receipts from their fundraising activities to this fund.

A second challenge that has been mentioned for a long time is the need to create a structure tofacilitate greater cooperation among all our Caribbean community organizations. To this end, the Council of Caribbean Associations was established around 2007-08.

I trust that that these two challenges will be taken up by TRINGO and all the T&T organizations whose noble vision for unity and joint projects The Caribbean Camera is happy to publicise.



Michael Lashley
Michael Lashley