Bodybuilder, Liberal MP among outstanding Guyanese honoured
From Frederick Halley in Toronto
Guyana Chronicle
June 6, 2004

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LIBERAL Member of Parliament Ovid Jackson and internationally famed bodybuilder Laura Creavalle were among the six outstanding awardees when the

Toronto-based Guyana Awards Committee held its 2004 Awards Presentation on May 22 last, heralding a month of activities in commemoration of Guyana's 38th Independence anniversary celebrations here.

Jackson was presented with the Special Achievement Award while Creavalle got a Lifetime Achievement Award at an impressive function, held at the Toronto Travelodge Hotel which was attended by several prominent overseas-based Guyanese and other invited guests.

The other awardees were Eric Rodrigues - Best Business Person; Dr Budhrendra Doobay - Leadership; Ned Blair - Community Service and Basin Punit – Academic Excellence.

Awards were also presented to the Senior Guyanese Friendship Association for its Contribution to Heritage and Culture and Guyana Burn Care Unit for Outstanding Community Organisation.

Born in New Amsterdam, Berbice, Jackson migrated to Canada in 1965 and has been serving the residents of Grey-Bruce-Owen Sound as a member of the ruling Liberal Caucus since 1973.

Jackson previously served as Mayor for three consecutive terms before running for a Federal Seat in Parliament in 1993 and has retained it since then. He is currently Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Government Renewal.

Creavalle has had a diversified career - bodybuilder, author, chef and trainer.

Since her entry into the bodybuilding arena in 1983, Creavalle has won all the Ontario championships, Mixed Couples and Eastern Canada titles. After relocating to California, Creavalle also won the Caribbean and World Championships titles the same year before graduating as a professional bodybuilder.

The author of two books - `A Taste of Club Creavalle’ and `The Lite Lifestyle’, Creavalle is also credited with hosting nutritional seminars worldwide and in the training of professional chefs in the preparation of low fat meals. She is the Feature Editor for Muscle and Fitness Magazine and manages Club Creavalle Training Camp.

Owner of Exclussif Spices and Wholesalers Limited, Eric Rodrigues has been credited with upholding the `Ricks’ tradition in Toronto after migrating in 1974. He previously worked with his father in the Alboustown, Georgetown area.

From a humble beginning, selling spices and hot sauces, Exclussif now manufactures more than 200 food products in Scarborough, Toronto under the brand names of Irie, Geeta and Spice-it-up.

Founder of the only Museum of Hindu civilisation outside of India, Dr. Doobay has been quite an instrumental figure in Canada, and apart from promoting the continuous upliftment and progress of Guyanese, is also credited with assisting other Caribbean nationals.

Dr. Doobay played major roles in the village of Annandale acquiring a medical clinic and also in the acquisition of the Burn Care Unit in Guyana.

The Guyana Burn Care Unit was established in Guyana in 2002 through an initiative from the now dissolved Plasticos Charities Foundation, headed by Harry

Harakh, Pamela Harakh, Dr. Timothy Sproule and Desmond Debarros.

Since then, more than 100 cases of domestic burns have been treated at the institution while the mortality rate of burn victims has reduced considerably. Prior to the opening of the unit, burn patients were treated in open wards with the facilities of trained staff.

Community Service Awardee Ned Blair is a member of the Weston Community Police Partnership, the Organisation of Black Tradesmen and Tradeswomen of Ontario and the Guyana Essequibo Association. He also volunteers for the AIDS Committee of Toronto, The Black Business and Professional Association and Harry Jerome Scholarship

Trust Fund.

Among his numerous awards is the Harry Jerome Award for Community Service. He is also listed in the `Who's Who in Canada’ and `Who's Who in Black Canada’.

Founder of the Alliance of Guyanese Canadian Organisation of which he was president for several years, Blair is also credited with organising the first Guyanese Independence Church Service and Cultural Show in Toronto.

An outstanding academician, Basil Punit worked as a Senior United States and International Tax Manager with the Toronto office of PricewaterhouseCoopers for more than a decade, providing U.S and International tax planning services to Canadian national and multinational corporations in the area of international taxation.

Punit is a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario, the Society of Certified Management Accountants of Ontario and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

The Senior Guyanese Friendship Association, which was founded in 1973 promotes Guyanese culture and among other things, fosters Guyanese cultural heritage through many activities, including concerts.

Through the efforts of the association, seniors have also been taken on conducted tours to Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, New York, Washington DC, Disney World and Atlantic City, among other places of interests.

The 2004 Guyana Awards Committee included Consul General Mr. Danny Doobay, Judge Vibert Lampkin, Mr. Rampersaud Tiwari and Mr. Paul Crum-Ewing.

Among those extending greetings were Canada’s Prime Minister Mr. Paul Martin and Ontario’s Premier Mr. Dalton McGuinty. The audience was entertained by Guyanese award-winning reggae star Donna Makeda.

The awards were created three years ago to acknowledge the contributions of Guyanese nationals towards the promotion of Guyana, the Guyanese heritage and culture and are seen as providing role models for the current and future generations.

Meanwhile, the Festival Committee is busy preparing for the annual three-day outdoor celebrations which have been switched from May to June to capitalise on better weather conditions.

The change of date locates the Festival in a much warmer time of the year, thereby removing the uncertainty that has surrounded the event in previous years. In anticipation of warmer weather, the Festival Committee has increased the number of outdoor activities.

The highlights of this year's festival, to be held at the L'Amoreaux Community Centre, 2000 McNicoll Avenue, Scarborough are the Guyana Trade Show, the Cultural

Show and the Celebrity Cricket Match featuring Guyana’s national cricket team and a Canadian XI.

The Trade Show will feature 25-30 of the top companies from Guyana representing key sectors of the economy, including manufacturing, seafood, furniture, food processing , pharmaceuticals, mining, jewellery and crafts, tourism, fresh fruits and vegetables.