September 16, 2009 issue

Metro & Surrounding

Phil Atteck’s twinning magic, a lasting legacy!

Talking Pals: Phil Atteck, left, the Father of mundialisation between St. Catharines, Ontario and Port of Spain, Trinidad is engaged in one-on-one chat with his pal and longtime friend Ken Joseph, president of the Port of Spain Twinning Association in St. Catharines last year during a backyard BBQ as part of the 40th anniversary of the twinning relationship.
(William Doyle-Marshall pix)
By William Doyle-Marshall
Phillip Atteck and his wife Helen are pioneers of the twinning movement between St. Catharines, Ontario and Port of Spain, Trinidad. Over the past 40 years they have been working as the pivot between both cities encouraging visits here in the north and down south in the sunny twin island republic.
But from all indications Phillip will not be around to celebrate the 41st anniversary of twinning in the fall of 2009. He is currently a patient at the St. Catharines General Hospital where his hopes of surviving are not very bright.
Last year’s 40th anniversary was very exciting for the couple who went to Trinidad with a delegation from St. Catharines that included Mayor Brian McMullan.
Phil and Helen along with members of the Planning committee worked very hard getting things together. They even had Brock University offer a four-year honours degree scholarship for a Trinidad student Stella-Marie Chongsing to commemorate the 40th anniversary. That gesture by the educational institution marked the start of planning of a grand celebration of 40 years of togetherness for the Attecks.
“We are 4,000 kilometers apart which is a miracle in itself, to be able to bring two communities of different social and cultural societies together and shake hands and actually have them in your own homes. It is amazing,” Phil reflected in an interview.
Jim Bradley, Member of Provincial Parliament was a member of St. Catharines City Council just about the time that twinning started. He remembered the good times had by people who included mayors, some councilors and citizens traveling to Port of Spain as well as individuals and families coming up from Port of Spain to St Catharines.
Bradley made a presentation to the Attecks during the celebration. He said the occasion surely brought back memories of those who were instrumental in establishing the relationship as well as those who were privileged to take part in one of the numerous trips that have occurred between the two cities particularly during the St. Catharines Grape and Wine Festival and Port of Spain’s carnival.
“It provided an outstanding example of two cities, two communities that could get together and enjoy the kind of friendship and relationship that all communities in the world should have with one another,” he recalled.
Bradley contended twinning started a cultural and economic exchange that has continued between St. Catharines and Port of Spain for the past four decades and he was confident it would continue in earnest for many more decades.
The relationship began with the St. Catharines group organizing a visit to Trinidad for about 160 persons. They went down for carnival and there was a return visit by citizens of Port of Spain for the annual Grape and Wine Festival, which is now known as the Wine Festival. The visitors were actually billeted in private homes free of charge and were entertained like family, Phil recalled.
The Attecks started this initiative 40 years ago while they still lived in Port of Spain. Helen delves into her memory of 40 years plus ago:
"We were well established in the community there. Phil was with 610 Radio as the Sales Manager and he did a lot of promotion and Air Canada, the local manager in Port of Spain happened to know us and he suggested that Phil come with him to Canada on a promotional tour and that was back in 1965. Well sure enough Phil came and the other gentleman was supposed to come along but at the last minute there was a threatened strike. He could not leave and Phil came all by himself.” He was hosted by Air Canada right across the country. Phil addressed members of civic organizations and he told them all about Trinidad. He even gave them a taste of good Trinidad and Tobago rum punch. As a magician, he did a little magic." In Helen’s words "the magic worked".
His community involvement has been vast. It ranged from Kiwanis Club of St. Catharines, the Chinese Cultural Club, Folks Arts Council and Niagara Olde Time Fiddlers Association.
Afghanistan, Pakistan and Caribbean drug dealings emphasizes Toronto Police diversity needs
Deputy Chief A.J. (Tony) Warr of the TPS (William Doyle-Marshall pix)
By William Doyle-Marshall
“We need people from South West Asia and we are getting them. We are attracting people from all communities, all backgrounds, all cultures.” The foregoing observation was made in an exclusive interview with Deputy Chief A.J. (Tony) Warr of the Toronto Police Services.
From his seventh floor office at Police Headquarters, the top law officer reflected on the make-up of graduation classes. The last class consisted of approximately 52% non-white officers or people who were not born in Canada. They came from other countries and cultures. Seventy percent spoke another language other than English. Deputy Warr was pleased that the Toronto Police Service is attracting officers who reflect the community being served. Admitting it’s going to take a while for that practice to go up through the organization, the senior police administrator noted that it is starting to go up through the organization.
With the presence of Barbadian-born Keith Forde as Deputy Chief and Jane Dick also as a deputy chief, Warr proudly looked forward to future changes. “We have a Female Deputy. This has never happened before in a command of the police service at the same time. We’ve never had a Black Deputy Chief before so it’s starting to come up. We have a staff superintendent who is a Black fellow. We have women who are commanding some of our biggest divisions; 14 division, 51 division, 32 division are commanded by women officers so the culture has changed within our police service.”
In a rather matter-of- fact tone Deputy Chief Warr concurred the change has taken a long time but “we are doing it and I think you can see it now a lot more than when I started. It was just assumed that a unit commander was a white male. That was just the way it was. It is very different now. The society has changed. It is a different culture. Go on the bus. That’s how the police should be and that’s how we want the police to be.”
These shifts in diversity are in the best interest of the service’s strategy for fighting crime that originates in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Caribbean.
Warr and his colleagues are disturbed and very concerned that most of Canada’s heroin comes from Afghanistan. In order to operate with the Afghani Police, Toronto Police Service has to go through the military whose personnel knows who could be trusted if there is some investigation that takes police back that far.
“I am not going to send officers off to Afghanistan to investigate a drug dealing. They may not come back. It’s a dangerous place,” he surmised
In the case of Pakistan, Warr said a lot of stuff comes out of there and his organization has to be careful and realistic as well. With respect to Afghanistan, the veteran law enforcer was not specific about what percentage of heroin encountered by TPS officers comes from that country. It’s a major source of income for the country and naturally those illicit activities feed into the local community here as well, Deputy Chief Warr stressed.
“If I have an investigation that leads to Afghanistan I may hand it over to the military intelligence or maybe the RCMP. I am not going to pursue it any further,” he concluded.
Improving liaison with the Caribbean police services is a priority for Warr and his colleagues. The high-level drug dealing, that brings drugs up from South America and Europe through the Caribbean into Canada and the United States of America is very troubling for police, Warr admitted.
He is great proponent of TPS working with partners within Canada and the United States as well as outside of North America. Acknowledging major money is made in drugs and different kinds of frauds internationally, Warr noted drugs are the mainstay of most crimes now. In order to be successful he said there is naturally an international policing connection so the Toronto Police Service can’t work in isolation.
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