Headlines      Issue Released December 1, 2004


Sacked school Principal gets community support


Toronto – The removal and arbitrary transfer by the Peel District School Board of a prominent school Principal has caused great consternation in the Indo Caribbean/South Asian communities and a lot of pain to the man affected.

Dr Sandy Kissoon Singh, formerly of Fairview Elementary School in Mississauga was in June of this year divested of his position as Principal of the school and subsequently transferred to Huntingdon Ridge Elementary School in the capacity of Vice Principal.

The action by the School Board has raised the ire of community organizations and individuals and has led to the formation of the Committee to Reinstate Dr Sandy Kissoon Singh as principal of Fairview Elementary School in Mississauga.

In a release the Committee stated that it views the action taken by the Peel District School Board against Dr Kissoon Singh as "illegal, unfair and discriminatory."

It is calling for "a review of the unfair dismissal of Dr Sandy Kissoon Singh and his immediate reinstatement to his former position."

It is also seeking to have an investigation done to determine who is responsible for this unpalatable affair so as to ensure that no other person would be made to suffer a similar fate.

Born in Trinidad, Dr Kissoon Singh has served the Peel Board for many years as a teacher and vice principal. He was appointed principal of Fairview Elementary School for just two semesters before his removal. Last June, his Superintendent of Education from the Peel Public School Board notified him by letter that he would be removed from his post as principal. He was asked to immediately clear all his belongings from the school's premises.

According to the mild mannered Dr Kissoon Singh, the charge against him was that he was "intimidating" to staff members.

The Committee contended that not only did the School Board not follow the procedures for disciplining principals in Dr Kissoon Singh's case but that there was no inquiry and that he was not allowed any opportunity to defend himself against the charges, or face his accusers. Further, that the former Principal received no prior warnings or reprimands about his performance.

Since his demotion cum transfer, Dr Kissoon Singh has taken ill and is off the job.

The Committee, under the Chairmanship on Reynold Ramdial is charging that this "is a plain case of abuse of the disciplinary process for administrators in the Peel School Board, and an act of injustice and discrimination against Dr Sandy Kissoon Singh, the South Asian Community in particular and visible minorities as a whole."

The Committee argues that the dismissal of Dr Kissoon Singh has sent a message to the Indo Caribbean/South Asian community in Peel that they need not try to achieve higher positions in the administration of the Peel School Board.

"It has reinforced public suspicion of the reasons for the chronic under representation of South Asians as teachers, administrators, office staff and guidance counselors in the Peel Board, as compared to their share of the Peel population. It has confirmed what South Asians know to be the hidden barriers to hiring and promotion and the glass ceiling for South Asians based on their ethnicity," it said in its release.

In its effort to support Dr Kissoon Singh, the Committee is currently researching systemic barriers and prejudice against people of Indian background in the Peel School Board. It is calling on those people with information to support the Committee by contacting Reynold Ramdial at 416-540-0192 or e-mail at r_ramdial@yahoo.ca.



Young interpretive dancers from the Hindu Sabha at the Ram Mandir. 

Pix by Manshad Mohamed

Hindu Federation youth arm gears up for outreach action

By Manshad Mohamed

Toronto — It was a beautiful setting at the Ram Mandir in Mississauga last Sunday. The Federation of Hindu Temples delivered a well organized programme dealing with a number of issues including the official inclusion of the youth arm that is now a force to be reckoned with in areas such as religious values, sports and entertainment.

The youth group has widened its scope to be more involved in the community at large with a food drive at year end, donations to the blood bank, on line forums which have already gone international, breast cancer awareness, recreational nights, etc.

Federation President Vishnu Sookar announced that the organization has added two more members to bring its number up to 16. And as part of the day's entertainment, many of the Temples in the Federation provided dances, music and songs.

Added to the programme was a message from Mr. Sanjay Garg, a resident of the USA who was on a brief visit here. He said the work of his group in the USA, the American Hindu Foundation (AHF) is already making an impact on the mainstream.

Earlier this year, Mr Garg said, the AHF met with a group of 25 Congesssmen and this resulted in diyas being lit in the White House for Diwali. His group was also responsible for getting India’s famous sitar player, Ravi Shankar to meet President George W. Bush. Mr. Garg reported that the budget for the AHF is US $973M. He said that there are 22 million Indians living out of India and that the time has come "to use this strength in many ways." A similar group in England now has representation in planning the education curriculum from K to grade 4. Also, the AHF is working with a Congressional Committee to produce a postage stamp to celebrate Diwali in 2005.

Youth leader Vishal Gorgi suggested that here is the place "to pray and play."

The evening culminated in a sumptious Diwali dinner. Pt. Roopnauth Sharma, the religious head of the Ram Mandir and his staff hosted this wonderful event in a professional manner.


Gopio Conference Jan 5-6

The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) has scheduled its Conference 2005 in Mumbai on January 5-6, in conjunction with Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2005. The conference will be inaugurated at the Taj Mahal Hotel followed with a reception. A scheduled GOPIO session on the Indian diaspora and global media will be held to openly discuss the role of global media in the diaspora.

The theme of GOPIO Mumbai conference "India and NRIs/PIOs – Role, Relationship and Responsibility." Based on this larger theme, there would be three conference sessions at Taj President Hotel.

Since its inception in 1989, GOPIO has been organizing conferences and conventions in different parts of the world to mobilize the global NRI/PIO community. This year's conference will conclude with the Awards banquet on Jan 6, 2005.

GOPIO has made arrangement with Taj hotel for $100 plus tax per room. The delegates may make reservation by sending email to: Soheb Desai tmhgroupresv.bom@tajhotels.com or Peter D’Souza president.mumbai@tajhotels.com




                Headlines Continued