Guyanese honoured in New York By Vishnu Bisram
Stabroek News
January 9, 2004

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Ashook Ramsaran, formerly of Letter Kenny and Bloomfield Village, was honoured by the New York City Council last week for his contribution to the city as an immigrant.

Ramsaran, 56, gives a considerable amount of time and money to charity.

Ramsaran came to New York as a student in 1968 when he was only 19 years old just after completing high school in Guyana. He worked briefly at the Whim Magistrate's court before migrating. In New York, he worked his way through college and on completing his Masters Degree as an electronic engineer at Polytechnic University, Brooklyn, he worked briefly as an engineer.

He currently owns his own business, Ramex, in Flushing, manufacturing intercoms for health care and transportation systems. His company has received contracts in several states including Washington. Ramex has a staff of 17.

Ramsaran is the recording secretary for the Fresh Meadows Home Owners' Civic Association and the secretary general of the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO [which was founded in 1989]), an international orga-nisation for Indians living outside India.

He is currently in India for the GOPIO conference and the government organised People of Indian Origin (PIO) conference in Delhi from January 7 to 11.

Ramsaran is also founder and president of the Guyanese East Indian Civic Association which held a conference on Guyana at St John's University four years ago and will host another conference on human rights violations against Indians in March.

The City Council, which is headed by Speaker Gifford Miller, paid glowing tributes to Ramsaran. Miller said: "A great city is only as great as those persons who give exemplary service to their communities. In Ashook Ramsaran we have an outstanding citizen, one who is worthy of the esteem of both the community and the great city of New York. He is someone who has come here [from another country] and has specifically made a difference to his own life as well as to the lives of his family and to the people in his neighbourhood. He's someone who has been called to the attention of his district office for doing significant work."

Miller presented a citation to Ramsaran at a ceremony in City Hall.

Ramsaran moved to Fresh Meadows with his wife five years ago, after his two children were grown and pursuing higher education. Ramsaran said he was always eager to become involved in the overall community rather than as an ethnic minority with limited interests. "My emphasis in life is how to quickly adapt, assimilate and become part of the mainstream. My emphasis is not to isolate and segment any kind of community group. It's how to bring them into the mainstream."

He said he believes that businesses can improve people's lives. "The US affords all of us, regardless of where we've come from, a platform of opportunity where we can look back and address some of the issues similar to ours."