Board of Directors

Canadian Guyanese Congress

Board of Directors

Mark M. Persaud, President

Mark M. Persaud, LL.B., LL.M., LL.D.  is a member of the Ontario Bar and held a broad range of positions with the Department of Justice as a prosecutor, counsel to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and civil litigation counsel. He studied political science at York University and obtained his law degrees from Osgoode Hall Law School . He also studied at the Center for Study of Values in Public Life at Harvard University. He is the recipient of many awards and recognition for his civic and public sector contributions including a Public Sector Law Alumni Gold Key Award in 2007 from Osgoode Hall Law School, both the Queen Elizabeth II Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals as well as a Canada 150  Medal for leadership and significant service to Canada. He was nominated by the diplomatic community for the prestigious 2006 Seoul Peace Prize. He was twice elected to the national executive of a Federal Canadian political party and has chaired and advised on political campaigns at the federal, provincial and municipal levels. He has also been recognized as an exceptional lawyer by the Law Society of Upper Canada as part of the Lawyers Make History project. He received a Doctor of Laws ( LL.D.) honoris causa in June, 2016 from the Law Society of Upper Canada.  He practises in both civil and criminal litigation including in the areas of commercial and real estate litigation, administrative and regulatory law and professional discipline. He has also been an adjunct law professor in the United States. He is the Chair of the Justice Committee for the Black North Initiative (BNI). He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Canadian Lawyer.

Ingrid Pellew-Berkeley, 1st Vice President

Ingrid Pellew-Berkeley has 34 years of service with the Peel Regional Police having retired at the rank of Deputy Chief.  Moving up the ranks Ingrid worked in diverse areas across the organization including Race Relations, Child Abuse and Sexual Assault and Community Services amongst many others.  As a Command Officer, Ingrid led a team of Senior Officers on driving progressive and inclusive changes. Committed to youth, community development and tackling issues of systemic racism Ingrid is an active board member on several not for profit organizations at the Regional, Provincial and National level.  She has been recognized with several awards for her work in the racialized and marginalized community.   A graduate of the University Of Guelph School Of Business and Economics with a master’s degree in Leadership Ingrid she has been recognized as a Top 10×10 Alumni with Impact.     

Dr. Amza Ali, 2nd Vice President

Dr Ali trained in Medicine at the University of the West Indies, Mona, with post-graduate training in Internal Medicine at UWI. After being awarded a British Commonwealth Scholarship, he then trained in Neurology at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London, England with a research Fellow’s position in the Retrovirus Research Group at the Clinical Research Centre, Harrow, England. He became a member (MRCP, 1990) and Fellow (FRCP, 2003) of the Royal College of Physicians, London and is specialist certified in Neurology by the Federation of Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom and the Association of British Neurologists. In 2001 he completed a clinical fellowship in Epilepsy in New York at the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, Neurological Institute, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center at Columbia University and is board certified in Advanced Central Clinical Neurophysiology by the American Board of Clinical Neurophysiology (ABCN). He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) in 2013 and a Fellow of the American Epilepsy Society (AES) in 2018.

 In 2001, he launched the Jamaican League Against Epilepsy (JLAE) and later transformed the JLAE into the larger regional organization, the Epilepsy Society of the Caribbean (ESC). This was launched in Montreal at the International Epilepsy Congress in 2013 and is the world’s first multi-nation chapter of the ILAE. To improve epilepsy knowledge and foster a culture of research in the Caribbean he led the development of the biennial North American Regional Caribbean Congress on Epilepsy (NARCCE) which is fully recognised for Category 1 CMEs in the US. This meeting attained substantial stature internationally such that, in 2020, it was elevated to a rotating North American Epilepsy Congress that takes place in the US, Canada and the Caribbean islands., the first of which was held in Toronto in 2020.

From 2005-2013 he served on the North American Commission of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) helping to draft policies to benefit epilepsy care in the North American region, which included the Caribbean. In February 2016 he was appointed Visiting Professor to the Department of Neurology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven Connecticut. 

He has received several awards for his work, including the Donald M. Palatucci Award for Neurology in 2009 from the American Academy of Neurology. In 2011 he was recognised by Yale University with the Swebilius Lectureship and Award for his “lasting achievements in the field of epilepsy”.  His work has been featured in Neurology Today, the official organ of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN). In 2011 and again in 2012 he was chosen as AAN Ambassador to the Caribbean region. In 2015 he was honoured by the Association of Consultant Physicians of Jamaica (ACPJ) for his local, regional and international work in Neurology and Epilepsy. In March 2017 he was selected, as one of 3 physicians globally, for the International Award for Excellence in Patient Care from the Royal College of Physicians of London, UK.  In June 2019 he was awarded the title of lifetime Ambassador for Epilepsy by the International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE) and the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), the first time this honour has been conferred on a physician of Caribbean origin. Recently, in February 2020 he was identified as one of the top 50 global Leaders in Epilepsy by the ILAE.

Dr. Susanna Bertolusso Ali, Secretary

Dr. Bortolusso Ali trained in Medicine at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona. She did her post-graduate training in Paediatrics at Central Middlesex Hospital, London, UK and at the University Hospital of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica.

After working as an Ambulatory Paediatrician at the University Hospital, she was recruited to Tropical Medicine Research Institute, UWI, where for over 15 years she managed a multidisciplinary team caring for children affected by severe malnutrition and persons living with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD). She served 12 of those years as Head of Clinical Services and was involved both in clinical care and clinical research.

In 2012, she trained in Transcranial Doppler (TCD) Screening at the University of Southampton, UK, therafter establishing a TCD screening program at the SCU to help identify children at high risk for stroke and established a cost-effective intervention to reduce that risk. She remains an Honorary Senior lecturer at the institute, now renamed the Caribbean Institute for Health Research (CAIHR).

As an academic, she co-developed the Standard Operating Procedures for conducting Clinical Research at the Sickle Cell Unit (SCU). Her research has been published in several peer reviewed journals including the American and British Journals of Haematology, the Journal of Paediatrics and in Epilepsy & Behavior. She authored several chapters and was editor of both the first and second editions of Sickle Cell Disease: The Clinical Care Guidelines of the Sickle Cell Unit (2nd ed – ISBN:987-976-41-0270-0), the management guideline used for training by the Ministry of Health in Jamaica and several other Caribbean countries.

As an advocate she is a founding member of the Jamaica League Against Epilepsy and the Jamaica Pain Collaborative and since 2016 has volunteered with the Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario, acting as Executive Lead between 2016-2018. Dr. Bortolusso Ali has been an invited speaker at several educational workshops including at Humber College, SickKids and at community and church health fairs. She is particularly interested in advocacy and facilitating equitable access to health care for persons affected by sickle cell disease and the health needs of other underserved communities. She presently remotely manages a neuro-diagnostic practice and is a mature student at the Chang School of Business, slowly working her way towards a Certificate in Non-profit and Volunteer Organization Management.

Rawn Lakhan, Treasurer

Rawn Lakhan, BA, MA, CIM, CSWP, FCSI has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. He is President, CEO and Portfolio Manager with Meadowbank Asset Management Inc. in Toronto, an Ontario Securities Commission regulated firm licensed in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec, which he co-founded in 2006. He currently manages the Meridius Separately Managed Portfolios and oversees the firm’s investment banking activities. Previously, he was Portfolio Manager of the publicly listed Legg Mason BW Investment Grade Focus Fund (BWI.UN: TSX), which was sub-advised by Philadelphia-based Brandywine Global Investment Management, and Chief Financial Officer of Meadowbank Capital Inc., a subsidiary of Meadowbank Asset Management Inc.; and Manager of the Global View Separately Managed Portfolios, which were sub-advised by Wisconsin-based, Global View Capital Management, LTD. Prior to joining Meadowbank, Rawn was a Partner with the Caprion Group of Companies, a vertically integrated financial services consulting !rm. He remains a Director with the firm. Between 2001 and 2006, he was a Wealth Management Consultant with a major Canadian Chartered Bank. As an Economist by training, Rawn has a deep interest in economic and social development issues, with a particular focus on Guyana and the Caribbean. He has been actively involved in both the Guyanese and Canadian communities and supports various charitable and social causes. Rawn has a BA and an MA in Economics from York University. He is a Chartered Investment Manager, a Chartered Strategic Wealth Planner and a Fellow of the Canadian Securities Institute.

The Honourable Justice Vibert A. Lampkin, Director

The Honourable Justice Vibert A. Lampkin is a retired judge of the Ontario Court of Justice where he presided for  twenty six years.  Prior to his LL.B. from the University of London,  he taught Latin and Mathematics at Saint Stanislaus College in Guyana. He practised law in Guyana before emigrating to Canada with his wife. He was called to the Ontario Bar in 1969 and became a partner at the law firm of  Rosenfeld, Schwartz, Malcolmson Lampkin & Levine. In 1977,  he earned a Master of Laws ( LL.M.) from Osgoode Hall Law School. He also received two honourary Doctor of Laws ( LL.M.) from the Law Society of Ontario and York University. He served as a Member of the Toronto Police Complaints Board as well as the Law Reform Commission of Ontario. His extensive community involvement includes serving as a Director of OXFAM, Founding Member and President of the Guyana Theatre Players of Canada, founding member of the Delos Davis Law Guild ( the forerunner of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers),   Director and current Director Emeritus of New Leaf Living and Learning Together Inc., Director of the Canadian Executive Service Organization and President of the Saint Stanislaus College Alumni Association (Toronto). He was one of the first black judges in Ontario and served in Newmarket until his retirement where he was known for his knowledge of the law, civility and contribution to the body of criminal law with numerous reported cases as well as his respect and compassion for people. 

Professor Jamal Deen, Director

M. Jamal Deen, born in Georgetown, Guyana, South America, is Distinguished University Professor, Senior Canada Research Chair in Information Technology, and Director of the Micro- and Nano-Systems Laboratory, McMaster University. He completed a B.Sc. degree in Physics and Mathematics at the University of Guyana, a M.S. degree and a Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A. His Ph.D. dissertation was on the design and modeling of a new CARS spectrometer for dynamic temperature measurements and combustion optimization in rocket and jet engines and was sponsored and used by NASA, Cleveland, USA. He has received four honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Waterloo, ON, Canada (2011), the Universidad de Granada, Granada, Spain (2012), the Universitat Rovira I Virgili (URV), Tarragona, Spain (2014), and El Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Óptica y Electrónica (INAOE), Puebla, Mexico (2016) for his exceptional scholarly achievements, exemplary professionalism and valued service contributions. 

From 1978-1980, Dr. Deen was an Instructor of Physics at the Univ. of Guyana, and from 1980 to 1983, he was a Research Assistant at Case Western Reserve University. He was a Research Engineer (1983-1985) and then an Assistant Professor (1985 -1986) at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. In 1986, he joined the School of Engineering Science, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia, as an Assistant Professor, and from 1993 to 2002, he was a Full Professor. In 1999, he was recruited to McMaster University where he has been since. Dr. Deen has worked at  the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics, National Research Council, Ottawa; Northern Telecom, Ottawa; Delft University of Technology, Nederland; CNRS in Grenoble and Montpellier, France; Technische Universitaet Berlin, Germany; POSTECH, South Korea; Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; and SUSTECH, Shenzhen, China. 

Dr. Deen has published extensively in micro-, nano- and opto-electronics, nanotechnology and data analytics. His research record includes more than 620 peer-reviewed articles (about 20% are invited and an h-index of 68), two textbooks on Silicon Photonics—Fundamentals and Devices (Wiley, 2012), Fiber Optic Communications – Fundamentals and Applications (Wiley 2014), 25 authored/edited books and conference proceedings, 19 invited book chapters, 12 awarded patents, six of which  have been used in industry, and 21 best paper/poster/presentation awards. He has also served as a consultant to the semiconductor industry in Canada, the USA and Japan. His research interests include nanoelectronics, optoelectronics, nanotechnology, data analytics and their emerging applications in health and environmental sciences. 

Dr. Deen is founding Executive Editor of Fluctuations and Noise Letters; Co-Editor-in-Chief of International Journal of High Speed Electronics and Systems, and Micro and Nanosystems; and a Member of the Editorial Boards of several journals including – Applied Sciences, IET Cyber-Physical Systems: Theory & Applications, Journal of Semiconductor Technology and Science, and Nanotechnology. Dr. Deen has served as the technical chair, general chair, principal organizer, member of the technical committee or member of the international steering committee of numerous conferences in his fields of research. 

Dr. Deen is a member of Eta Kappa Nu, the Electrical Engineering honor society. As an undergraduate student, he won the Chancellor’s medal as the second best graduating student and the Irving Adler prize as the best mathematics student (1978). As a graduate student, he was a Fulbright-Laspau Scholar from 1980 to 1982 and an American Vacuum Society Scholar from 1983 to 1984. He was awarded a NSERC Senior Industrial Fellow in 1993. Dr. Deen is a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Electron Device Society; was awarded the 2002 Thomas D. Callinan Award (2002) as well as the Electronics and Photonics Division Award (2011) from the Electrochemical Society; the Distinguished Researcher Award, Province of Ontario in July 2001; a Humboldt Research Award (2006) from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation; an IBM Faculty Award in 2006; the Eadie Medal from the Royal Society of Canada in 2008, the McNaughton Gold Medal (highest award for engineers),  in 2013, the Fessenden Silver Medal in 2011, as well as the Ham Education Medal in 2014, all from IEEE Canada. 

Dr. Deen has been elected by his peers as Fellow/Academician of twelve national academies and professional societies  – Fellow of The Royal Society of Canada (FRSC) – The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada (the highest honor for academics, scholars and artists in Canada), Academician (Foreign Member) of The Chinese Academy of Sciences (A-CAS, China’s highest national honor in the area of science and technology and highest academic title), a Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences (FTWAS), a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering (FCAE), Member (Academician) – European Academy of Sciences and Arts (MEASA).a Foreign Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering (FINAE-Foreign), a Foreign Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences India (FNASI-Foreign); a Fellow of The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (FIEEE), a Fellow of The American Physical Society (FAPS), a Fellow of The Electrochemical Society (FECS), a Fellow of The American Association for the Advancement of Science (FAAAS), a Fellow of The Engineering Institute of Canada (FEIC) and an Honorary Member of the World Innovation Foundation (HonMWIF) – the foundation’s highest honor. Most recently, he was elected to the Order of Canada (July 2018), the highest civilian honor awarded by the Government of Canada. 

Keith Godding, Director

Keith Godding is a Portfolio Director at the Bank of Nova Scotia who works with Senior leadership to help their business lines drive their priorities. Using a data driven approach, he helps teams seize the best opportunities. Prior to his time at Scotiabank, Keith spent 6 years as a Professional Football Player in the CFL  ( Canadian Football League). Keith knows that the only way to get things done is by action and a solid work ethic, and instills these values as the Head Coach of the Premier Youth Football Club in Canada. The Kingdom Force Football. KF Football players have received over $200,000 in scholarship money for post-secondary education. Keith is a Project Management Professional (PMP®), and has an interest in Computer Science.He holds a certificate in Machine Learning from MIT. Keith holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Bishops University.

Dr. Naresh Singh, Director

Dr. Naresh Singh is currently Professor in the School of Government and Public Policy and Director of the Centre for Complexity Economics, Applied Spirituality and Public Policy at the OP Jindal Global University in Haryana, India. He concurrently serves as Visiting Professor at University of Ottawa, Senior Vice President, Global Partnerships at Global Development Solutions, Canada and special adviser on sustainability at the Toronto Centre, on financial supervision and regulation.

Naresh has more than 30 years’ experience in international development and has held several senior positions including as Senior Scientist and then Executive Director of the Caribbean Environmental Health Institute; Program Director at IISD (International Institute for Sustainable Development), Principal Adviser on Poverty and Sustainable Livelihoods at UNDP, New York and Director-General at the CIDA, Federal Government of Canada. He was also Executive Director of the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor co-chaired by Madeleine Albright and Hernando de Soto and hosted by UNDP.

Dr. Singh has been recognized globally for his work on sustainable livelihoods which offers win-win options for poor people get out of poverty with conserving the environment.  He has been a visiting professor at several Universities in Canada, USA and the Caribbean and is widely published. His book Legal Rights of the Poor was published in 2014. A book chapter entitled Development as Emergent Creativity has just been published in Transforming: Applying Spirituality, Emergent Creativity (Lexington 2021) edited by Vern and Gloria Redekop.

Jasmine Ali, Youth Director

Jasmine Ali is a youth Director of the Canadian Guyanese Congress. She is a fourth-year Commerce student at the University of Toronto pursuing management consulting at McKinsey & Company after graduation. Passionate about advocacy for marginalized communities, Jasmine has organized events and programs to support hundreds of Black students and award over $20,000 to Black entrepreneurs in her roles as co-President of Black Rotman Commerce and co-Organizer of the Black Career Conference. Jasmine also has interests in public policy and economic development which she pursues as a Researcher in the Reach Alliance based out of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.

Jonathan Persaud, Youth Director

Jonathan Persaud is a youth director at the Canadian Guyanese Congress. He is a university student in Toronto completing his studies in Economics and Political Science and is planning on post-graduate studies. When he is not absorbed in hockey, golf, or American politics, he continues to refine his culinary skills by preparing gourmet meals for his family and friends. He has been devoted to the Montreal Canadians since he was about six years old when he played hockey under the Montreal team’s jersey much to the annoyance of most of his friends.

Nicholas Fraser, Youth Director

Nicholas Fraser is a Youth Director at the Canadian Guyanese Congress. He recently graduated from the University of Ontario Insititute of Technology (UOIT) with a bachelor degree in Commerce and plans to pursue post-graduate studies in the near future. His job as Program Coordinator at the BlackNorth Initiative enables him to contribute to the cause to help end anti-Black systemic racism in Canada.

Nicholas has always been passionate about giving back to the community, and as such he seeks ways in which he can be involved in various programs to help the less fortunate. His volunteer work at his community church and also at a local food bank are some of the ways in which he seeks to make a difference.

Su'aad Juman Yassin, Youth Director

Su’aad is in her final undergraduate year at the University of Toronto, specializing in mathematical applications in economics and finance. She has a strong passion for environmental issues and, through her work with the UofT Trash Team, is committed to increasing waste literacy in schools, promoting a circular economy and decreasing plastic pollution in communities. Su’aad is enthusiastic about fostering a vibrant network with other Canadians of Guyanese heritage to ultimately promote their skillsets and untapped talents throughout the country. Su’aad is bilingual in English and French.

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