Barbadians living in Toronto and others seeking a good primary and secondary education for their children should consider sending them to Barbados.
That was part of the message delivered by that country’s Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, when he addressed the members of the community here on the weekend.
Jones encouraged nationals and others seeking a quality education for their children to consider sending them to the Caribbean country.
“Our environment still stresses very strongly the need to learn and the need for education as a liberating force,” he said. “You are dealing with skilled and knowledgeable educators who care for you because they see themselves reflected in you and they allow you to rise to the highest level within a system. For us, it’s about educating to the optimum of your ability.”
A number of awards and scholarships were handed out at the event which was held to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Barbados independence from Britain.
Maya St. Kitts was one of the scholarship recipients. She was presented with a Keith Forde scholarship, named for the first Black appointed a deputy chief of the Toronto police.
“When you look at his trailblazing record and the high standards he has set for young people like myself, I am certainly honoured to be given an award in his name,” said St. Kitts, who intends to be a lawyer and diplomat.
Born in Mississauga to Barbadian parents, St. Kitts received an Academic Letter for making the honours list seven of eight semesters at Lorne Park Secondary School where she also excelled in soccer, flag football, track and field and rugby.
The first-year University of Toronto international relations and language studies student is fluent in French, plays chess and the piano and dances competitively. Her community work includes selling daffodils for the Canadian Cancer Society.
Humber College criminal justice studies student, Bria Bennett, was also presented with a Keith Forde scholarship. The 19-year-old Milliken Mills High School graduate and former Barbados Overseas Community Canada dance team member aspires to be a crime scene investigator.
Humber College film and media arts student, Danon Browne, was the recipient of the Gordon Bynoe Memorial award. Bynoe was a president of the National Council of Barbadian Associations in Canada and a founding member of Barbados House Inc.
A graduate of Maple High School, Browne’s goal is to become a film director or editor.
The gala was held under the auspices of the Barbados Consulate in Toronto. Consul General Leroy McClean presented Community Service Awards to Mississauga dentist, Dr. Ian Walker, and registered nurse and Barbadian Nurses Association of Canada vice-president, Marlene Harewood. He also presented a Friend of Barbados Award to Barbados Charity Ball treasurer, Don Mackinley.
“These individuals are fully deserving of the awards,” said McClean. “Though he’s not Barbadian, Don has visited the island at least 25 times and is fully involved with several of our organizations here.”