A Canadian university professor is among four recipients of Caribbean Awards of Excellence presented recently at the Trinidad Hilton Hotel.
Guyanese-born Dr. Suresh Narine, the director of Trent University’s Centre for Biomaterials Research, received the prestigious honour for brilliance in science and technology.
The awards are named after prominent Caribbean businessman, Anthony Sabga.
“I really do believe that these awards are very instrumental in forging a deeper sense of Caribbean identity by celebrating regional role models and holding them up as examples for our young people to emulate,” Dr. Narine, who is also the head of the university’s physics & astronomy and chemistry departments, told Share. “No civilization which marches towards shared horizons can do so without identifying and celebrating those who espouse the values we would like to inculcate.
“For these reasons and because any recognition from those at home is always dearest among treasures, I am most delighted to receive this award and very humbled now to be counted among its laureates who are some of the most accomplished Caribbean brothers and sisters.”
Narine migrated to Canada in 1991 to pursue higher education at Trent, where he earned both his first degree and his Master’s. He secured his PhD from the University of Guelph and was appointed Professor and Alberta Value Added Corporation (AVAC) research chair at the University of Alberta at age 27.
Named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under-40 leaders in 2011, Narine contributes to public understanding and policy development in toxics reduction, trains highly qualified personnel and teaches undergraduate and graduate students.
Narine, who was the founding director of the Alberta Lipid Utilization Research Program, played a key role in the establishment of Trent University’s state-of-the-art 7,000 square foot biomaterials research centre that focuses on the creation of petro-chemical replacements and biomaterials from lipids.
He was also instrumental in the university signing a letter of intent with Guyana’s Institute of Applied Sciences & Technology (IAST) to promote technology development, the utilization of natural resources and graduate training in the only English-speaking country in South America.
With the blessings of the University of Alberta – where he was one of four AVAC chairs at the time – and Trent University, Narine accepted a Guyana presidential appointment a decade ago to become the IAST director. In that role in which he spends a few days in Guyana monthly, he introduced biodiesel technology and set up a commercial-viable biodiesel production facility in Guyana’s hinterland.
“In my own efforts in Guyana, I have seen first-hand how important a tool science and technology can be in leap-frogging the developmental process,” he said in his acceptance speech. “I firmly believe that our region’s science and technology portfolio should be heavily focused on technology transfer and harnessing of the science and technology for development and the well-being of our people.
“Even as we pursue technologies appropriate to our particular circumstances, critical mass cannot be accomplished without pooling our regional resources. The problem is not our individual people who collaborate quite naturally. I firmly contend that the problem resides with our political leadership lacking the political will to address this problem.”
A father of triplets, Narine was a Guyana Awards Council Special Achievement winner in 2007.