T&T 50Plus & Seniors Association launches ‘Pulling Together’

By Lincoln DePradine

From Left: Yavi Seupaul, Kenny Dayal, MP Shaun Chen and La Sirju

Members of the Trinidad & Tobago 50Plus and Seniors’ Association of Canada (Ontario Chapter) have been assured of continued assistance from the federal Liberal Party government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The assurance was given by Liberal MP Shaun Chen, parliamentary representative for Scarborough North, as he addressed a 50Plus and Seniors’ Association book launch at the office of the Trinidad and Tobago consulate general in Toronto.

“I will continue to advocate and fight for you to make sure that you get as much support as you can from the federal government,’’ promised Chen, who was participating in the public unveiling of “Pulling Together’’.

The association received federal funding support to produce the book, which includes forewords written by Chen and two others.

“Canadians of Trinidadian and Tobagonian descent ought to be proud of the incredible legacy that is well-preserved in the chapters and pages of ‘Pulling Together’ and the captivating tales they tell,’’ wrote Chen.

The 50Plus and Seniors’ Association was established in 1996 with the late Rasheed Sultan-Khan as founding-president. Sultan-Khan, a former Trinidad singer who also was involved in family business in T&T, died last month at 94.

At the book launch, tribute was paid to Sultan-Khan by representatives of the 50Plus and Seniors’ Association, whose stated aim is to “bring together peoples of similar background and interest; and, to enhance our knowledge of cultures between citizens of the Trinidad & Tobago community in Canada and other countries of the world’’.

The vision of the association is for “seniors to live with dignity and respect, experiencing the full expression of their independence, parenthood and potential’’.

“We provide assistance, information and camaraderie. We do outreach to seniors who are isolated and shut-in,’’ said association president Kenny Dayal.

Dayal chaired a “digital committee’’ of the association that produced the book, which was edited by June Straker.

Readers of the book “will get a glimpse into the history of the Trinidad and Tobago 50Plus and Seniors’ Association of Canada’’, said Straker.

“As you will read in these pages, our members bring with them a wealth of knowledge, expertise and experience. Their stories of travel to a new land and pulling together are a testimony to the power of resilience, determination and community,’’ she added. “May these stories serve as a reminder of the power of community and the importance of pulling together in creating a brighter future.’’

Trinidad’s consul general Tracey Ramsubagh-Mannette and Liben Gebremikael, CEO of TAIBU Community Health Centre and chair of the Alliance of Healthier Communities, contributed to the publication by writing forewords, and also attended the launch of the association’s book.

“This publication is yet another example of the organization’s commitment to innovation and is a valuable gift to us all,’’ said Ramsubagh-Mannette. “By all accounts, since its establishment in 1996, the 50Plus and Seniors’ Association has enriched the lives of its members and provided avenues for them to remain active and engaged in meaningful ways in our community.’’

Gebremikael, in congratulating 50Plus and Seniors’ Association members, said he has “closely witnessed’’ and has been “energized by the positive, caring and respectful manner, you have continued to ensure that your history, traditions and diverse cultures are documented and shared’’.

Among several activities of the 50Plus and Seniors’ T&T group is the production of a monthly digital magazine. So far, the association has done five issues of the magazine.