Feature

Top Recognition For Vince Prasad’s Service To Canadian Government

After working for the Suva City Council from 1964 to 1969, Mr Prasad migrated to Canada with his wife and son in search of better opportunities.
12 Apr 2021 10:50
Top Recognition For Vince Prasad’s Service To Canadian Government
Vince Prasad with wife Veena Prasad at a botanical garden in Canada.

Thousands of Indo-Fijians have made their mark in new countries they now call home.

The migration is ongoing and it started well before Fiji became independent in 1970,

One of the Indo-Fijian diaspora oversea, Vince Prasad, has been recognised and honoured for his long and illustrious career with the Canadian Customs Revenue Department after his recent retirement.

The former Nausori resident was praised for developing the first Canada Customs Revenue enforcement manual and he travelled all over the country implementing the programme.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was among those prominent citizens who specially recognised his service.

Mr Trudeau, in a personal note, said: “On this occasion of your retirement from the Public Service I wish to thank you on behalf of the Government and people for 31 years of loyal service and to extend to you our best wishes.”

He also received the Life Time Volunteer Award for dedicating the rest of his life to serve people in need. He is also a recipient of the Commemorative Medal for the 125th anniversary of the Confederation of Canada awarded by the Governor-General.

A devout Christian, he has also been awarded for his service in the Gospel Church.

Migration 

After working for the Suva City Council from 1964 to 1969, Mr Prasad migrated to Canada with his wife and son in search of better opportunities.

His second child a daughter, was born later in Canada. But life was not easy for new immigrants like the Prasads.

The hunt for jobs was difficult because of the lack of Canadian experience, he said in an interview with a Canadian magazine.

They stayed with relatives until they moved out to be independent.

Prior to leaving Fiji, Mr Prasad served for three months with the United States Peace Corp at the University of Hawaii teaching Fijian Hindi language.

The Prasad family in earlier days.

The Prasad family in earlier days.

Eventually, he got a six months opportunity to work at the City of Vancouver in the electrical division, accounting section, permits and licensing.

Then he moved to Unemployment Insurance Commission and took up a position as a debt collector.

This role set him up in his career as a public servant.

In 1981, he was offered an opportunity to join Canada Customs Operations, Pacific region as a regional customs collector for Port Vancouver, BC and the Yukon, now known as Border Services.

Mr Prasad began his education at Vunimono Boys school up to Class Eight. Then he attended DAV Boys College where he progressed to Fiji Junior and General Certificate of education.

At Suva Grammar school he took night classes on accounting. He also attended the University of Hawaii language training programme.

In Canada, he attended the British Columbia Institute of Technology and several Federal Government courses relevant to his work.

His advice to immigrants: 

“Be prepared to take up any type of work initially to get established in a new country. Take courses through night classes to advance one’s choice of skills.

“I encourage others to stay volunteer to stay active in mind and body, make connections and continue to learn.

“Work hard and try not to get discouraged as Canada is wonderful country and an opportunity to move forward.

“But the memory of Fiji will never die for the Prasads as they continue to maintain contacts with relatives and friends.

“Fiji is a beautiful country, with an abundance of greenery, tropical climate, and has good beaches and seafood which I miss very much.”

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj



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