GOPIO’s 25th Anniversary Jubilee ignited the Diaspora Spirit

Published Date:   Tuesday, Jun 10, 2014

Port of Spain: June 5, 2014: The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO International) has concluded its 25th Anniversary (Jubilee) Convention 2014 in Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago, with a memorable and highly successful celebration from 27th May through 30th May, 2014 coinciding with the 169th anniversary of Indian Arrival Day commemoration in Trinidad and Tobago.

The convention was an historic event in the Indian Diaspora attended by delegates from several countries where GOPIO is prominent and where persons of Indian origin reside in substantial numbers and even small numbers. Countries include: Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Malaysia, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, India, South Africa, Netherlands and other countries of the European Union (EU), UK, Canada, USA, and the Caribbean region: Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Belize, St. Vincent, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Grenada and St Lucia.

Among the many events of the convention, some of the notable highlights include: Welcome reception at the Diplomatic Centre residence of Hon. Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, GOPIO’s elections for new officers, all-day academic conference, special guests at cultural performances held at National Cultural of Indian Culture (NCIC), and unveiling of arrival monument marking the first arrivals of indentured Indian laborers in Trinidad.

Reception at Prime Minister’s Residence

A significant highlight of GOPIO’s 25th Anniversary Jubilee Convention was the special welcome reception of GOPIO delegates at the Diplomatic Centre residence of the Hon Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar on 28th May. The reception was hosted by Ministry of National Diversity and Social Integration with Minister Dr Roger Samuel making the initial remarks, followed by GOPIO International president Ashook Ramsaran and presentation of gifts. Hon Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar formally welcomed GOPIO’s delegates, recounted GOPIO’s special reception/dinner during the visit to the Kolkata Memorial on 12th January, 2012 and thanked GOPIO for holding its 25th Anniversary Jubilee Convention in Trinidad and Tobago. In attendance were several ministers and members of parliament of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago as well as the Indian High Commissioner HE Gauri Gupta. The evening included a special celebratory treat of Caribbean and Indian music with delegates joining in dancing.

On 28th May, a Business-to-Business seminar featuring prominent scholars and business leaders was held at the Radisson Hotel. It was sponsored by Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Trade and Investment. Sessions include: Investment and Trade Opportunities in Trinidad and Tobago; Investment and Trade Opportunities in St Vincent and Grenadines; Investment and Trade Opportunities in Guyana; Success Stories of Doing Business in the Caribbean; Free Enterprise, Market Economy and Business Successes; The Growth of Education and Medical Services for Bi-Lateral Trade; Media as Marketing Tool in Emerging Economies

The Academic Conference segment of the convention was a full 1-day event held on 29th May at the Radisson Hotel. There were several sessions designed round the convention theme of “Indian Diaspora Today and Tomorrow” The chief guest at the Inaugural Session was Indian High Commissioner HE Gauri Gupta and the keynote speaker Dr Mahin Gosine, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at SUNY, New York, USA. Prof Kumar Mahabir, Assistant Professor at University of Trinidad and Tobago, concluded the session.

Other sessions with prominent and suitably qualified speakers from several countries were:  Global and Regional Diaspora Investments and Economic Opportunities; The Indian Diaspora: Issues, Challenges and Opportunities; Diaspora’s Youth, Children, Gender and Inter-Generational Issues; Multi-Cultural Diversity and Inter-Ethnic Cooperation in the Indian Diaspora; Education, Science and Technology as Significant Assets in the Indian Diaspora;  Health, Wellness, Lifestyle and Nutritional Factors in the Indian Diaspora; GOPIO’s 25th Anniversary Resolutions; Wrap-up and Conclusion.


Gala and Jubilee Recognition

The Jubilee Recognition Gala was another highlight of GOPIO’s 25th Anniversary (Jubilee) Convention 201, held on 29th May, 2014 in the Grand Ballroom at the Radisson Hotel in Port of Spain. In attendance was Indian High Commissioner HE Gauri Gupta, Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Vasant Bharath; and Min. Ramona Ramdial, Minister in the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources. The event was emceed by prominent radio and television host Zelisa Boodoosingh.

GOPIO’s Jubilee Recognition for outstanding achievements in selected categories were awarded to several persons “who contributed to the betterment of people of the Indian Diaspora. The Jubilee Recognition recipients achieved significant and prominent levels of stature and recognition in their respective fields of endeavor and have served interests of people in their respective countries of domicile and others as well, in addition to generating pride and respect among the Indian Diaspora and others in country of birth or domicile”.

In addition to recognition of those who contributed to GOPIO’s formation in 1989 as well as all previous life members, GOPIO recognized the newest life members since 6th January, 2014. Elections were held by GOPIO International Council for several positions in GOPIO at the international level.

Indian Arrival Monument at Waterloo-by-the-Sea

The Indian Arrival Monument at Waterloo-by-the-Sea was unveiled on 30th May 2014, the 169th anniversary of Indian Arrival Day in Trinidad and Tobago, another significant and historic marker of the journey of Indian migration to other lands for better livelihood. The monument is another commemorative milestone marker in honored tribute and well deserved recognition of the first arrivals of indentured Indian laborers in Trinidad and Tobago. This unveiling was attended by Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministers Dr. Suruj Rambachan MP, supporter Mininister Ramona Ramdial, Counselors Abdool and Seepersad, Couva Regional Chairman Henry Awong, among many others officials. GOPIO International President Ashook Ramsaran and Indian High Commissioner HE Gauri Gupta unveiled the monument in the presence of hundreds of people including several “legacy generation” persons, a few over 100 years old. 

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