Dr.Vidhya Gyan Tota-Maharaj
Dr.Vidhya Gyan Tota-Maharaj is right at home in bustling multi-cultural Canada, this as she is herself a product of diversity. Fresh into the new year, she faces the welcome challenge of representing the many facets of the her country’s culture in celebrations to mark Trinidad’s 50th year of independence.
Born to middle-class parents in Trinidad - both her mother and father are teachers - there were also religious differences - her father, Presbyterian and her mother, a Hindu. She says her parents were firm in their insistence on the children getting a solid education, and pursuing excellence in their studies.
It was a message that guided and transformed the young Vidhya, the fifth of eight children. A medical doctor, she has worked at the highest levels of Trinidad and Tobago’s public health system. In the last four years she has worked as a District Medical Officer.
Last November, she officially assumed duty as consul-general of Trinidad and Tobago in Toronto, and feels there has always been a Canadian link. “I got my education from the Canadian mission in Trinidad and Tobago, later called the Canadian Mission Presbyterian Schools.
The Canadian mission came in the 1940s and 1950s.” PLANS Not surprisingly Maharaj says education and culture is her focus. She plans to call on the resources of her nations’s young people to help in bridging whatever divide there may be.
An essay competition under the theme; ‘Growing up children of Trinidad and Tobago-born parents’ and aimed for elementary and high school students, is being planned.
The consul general said she also wants to engage university students and get input from them on how to further develop the island into first-world status, i.e., improving infrastructure and achieving a more lucrative tourism industry.
As Tota-Maharaj begins the year 2012 in her new job, she also has the added responsibilities of co-ordinating events for the country’s 50th Anniversary of Independence.
The consul general will be reviving the Trinidad and Tobago flag raising ceremony to be held this year on August 31 at Nathan Phillips Square and the inter-faith service will be held on August 25.
Celebrations for Eid in August are also being organised. This month, the Consulate in Toronto will patronise an event in commemoration of Indian Arrival Day (a public holiday in Trinidad and Tobago on May 30) that is being hosted by Scotts and Mendez Overseas United and the Brampton Masters Cricket Club.
On Saturday, July 28, the Toronto Consulate is partnering with Zattie and Karma Community Organisation to host a Golf Tournament at the Royal Ontario Golf Course in Oakville.