Greetings! I was born in Jamaica and spent a happy childhood there, until the age of 18. After high school I decided to study overseas and my journey took me to Worcester, Massachusetts and then to Waterloo, Ontario, where I earned an Engineering degree. I met my “Trini” wife, Anandi, while at university and we have been married for over 25 years and have three beautiful children.

To everyone who is from Jamaica, Trinidad, Haiti, Barbados, Cuba, Guyana, or any of the thirty countries/dependencies in the Caribbean, we welcome you to the Region and invite you to become a member of our organization. Despite the many different languages and cultures we represent, we share a memory and a history of sea and sky and sand, tropical heat and musical beats.

We also share the common experience of emigrating to a colder climate and being a visible minority, likely for the first time. The Caribbean Canadian Association of Waterloo Region was founded in 1975 by immigrants to this region who wished to celebrate their culture and provide a supportive space for those who were working to make Canada their new home. Over the past 45 years the CCAWR has sponsored and supported many events and programs that benefited the Caribbean community.

The CCAWR continues to evolve and grow to meet the needs of the community, but we cannot accomplish our goals without your support. I invite you to connect with us and to use your skills and talents to help us build a strong, engaged and caring community. There is strength in numbers, and we can accomplish far more together than we can as individuals.

You can reach him at:



Nigel Henriques emigrated from Jamaica in 1979 to attend the University of Waterloo, where he graduated with a degree in Honours Computer Science and Masters in Management Science. Nigel has lived in Waterloo since that time and has a long career of over 30 years in the Information Technology field in a number of industry portfolios, including; automotive, inventory management, finance, agriculture and higher education. He has worked on a variety of projects across Canada and Internationally throughout his career. He currently holds a senior role at the University of Waterloo as an Associate Director.

Nigel joined the CCAWR Scholarship Committee back in 2010 when it was first initiated because he strongly believes that every child deserves an opportunity to develop and grow through a solid post-secondary education. He has volunteered as a soccer coach in the community for over 17 years and constantly preaches the value and importance of a good education.

Place of birth:      London, England


1970-1978:                Campion College, Kingston, Jamaica
1979-1983:                University of Waterloo, Honours. Computer Science
1983-1986:                University of Waterloo, Masters in Management Science

You can reach him at:



Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Amanda immigrated to Canada with her family in 2008 and planted new roots in the Region of Waterloo. Prior to immigrating, Amanda opted for an early retirement after serving as an elementary teacher with the Ministry of Education for 21 years. Amanda holds a Bachelor’s in Education with a specialty in Educational Administration and a Master’s Degree in Sociology, both of which she earned at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago.

Amanda has always been service-minded and felt the need to serve her new community and home in some meaningful way. She joined the CCAWR as a Board Member in 2016 as she felt the organization’s values, mission and vision aligned with her own. Being a member of the board also offered an opportunity to connect and network with other Caribbean residents in the region. Amanda currently serves as a Director of the Board as the Secretary and is also a member of the Scholarship Committee.

Not only does Amanda volunteer on the board, she teaches adults part-time at Pathways Educational Services, and is the owner and senior paralegal at Amicus Paralegal Services, a small paralegal practice in Kitchener-Waterloo. When she is not volunteering or working, Amanda spends time with her family and explores her life-long passion for writing. She uses different forums such as blogging platforms and social media to inspire others and share her writings on education, parenting, and law. She claims that her writings may not be first-rate or perfect, but like her, they are a continuous work in progress.

You can reach her at:


OLIVE COKE, Treasurer

Olive Coke

Olive J Coke is a CPA who emigrated from Jamaica and settled in Kitchener in 1999.  She is a graduate of the Conestoga College, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT). She became a member of The Certified General Accountants Association in 2012.

Olive enjoys giving back to the community and has worked with the CCAWR Scholarship Committee since 2010. She is currently a member of the Events Committee. Olive is involved in her Church and has chaired the Women’s Retreat Committee for over 6 years as well as being part of the summer ministry where she teaches women at Manitoulin Island. Her passion is to empower women to fulfil their potential to be their best and to believe that they can rise up from any adversity they face.

When she is not busy volunteering or giving a helping hand, Olive enjoys painting, gardening reading, and travelling.

You can reach her at:




Emily Roslyn Yamoah was born in Clarendon, Jamaica. She graduated from University of Waterloo with a B.A. in 1980. She worked as a teacher in Jamaica and Nigeria and later spent 27 years working with the City of Kitchener and The Region of Waterloo.

She is a past recipient of the Kitchener Award for Positive Suggestions from The City of Kitchener. Mother of four children Isaac, Patricia, Lynta & Megan, Emily is a tourism lifestyle enthusiast and has travelled extensively.

Emily has been a member of the association for the last 25 years, serving as a Board member for 20 of those years. Emily gives her time to multiple non-profit boards and community organizations.  During her time at the association, she has organized and supported activities that contributed to social and business development within the community, especially in economically depressed areas. She has also made significant contributions through organizing community events, annual commemoration ceremonies and memorials.

You can reach her at:



Anandi loves Caribbean culture and will promote it at every opportunity. She joined the CCAWR Board in 2012 and has served as Secretary and Treasurer. She is the current administrator of the Afric Caribbean Book Club.

Anandi is an Auditor with the Canada Revenue Agency, working in the Public Service for over 20 years. This career utilizes her analytical skills and dispute resolution philosophy. Anandi was awarded a Bachelor of Mathematics, Chartered Accounting from the University of Waterloo. She cherishes the discipline and drive to achievement she was taught at her alma mater St. Joseph’s Convent, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.
She enjoys filmmaking and obtained a Film Studies Certificate at Ryerson University in 2010. She produced a short film “Gerima” about a very special local drummer of Caribbean descent; the short debuted at the Local Focus Festival, Kitchener in 2011. She stays active in production, volunteering with RogersTV as the host of the news show “Your Region This Week.” She also enjoys improv acting, creative writing and speech crafting with Toastmasters.



Avonaé Gentles was born in Kingston, Jamaica and immigrated to Waterloo, Canada in 2009 with her family. Since then she has graduated from St. David Catholic Secondary School and is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Science at the University of Waterloo.

Avonaé has always been an active member of the Waterloo community, in particular the health subset. She has volunteered with the Grand River Hospital (GRH) cancer centre and the Northfield Medical centre in addition to working with the University of Waterloo Health Services. She is passionate about female reproductive health and removing the ambiguity behind medical conditions like endometriosis, polycystic ovaries, fibroids, and preeclampsia, that disproportionately affect women of colour and envisions a future where black women in Canada will receive equitable medical care. Avonaé is also a youth leader at a local church, where she works with a team of likeminded young adults and health care professionals to organize annual mission trips to marginalized areas in Canada and provide community and counselling services to at-risk youth.

Avonaé joined the CCAWR scholarship committee in 2020 following the paradigm shift ensuing from the shooting of George Floyd. Her goal is to make meaningful contributions to her community and the the growing momentum of the Black Live Matter (BLM) movement, with a specific focus on creating initiatives for adolescents and young adults.



Carla Beharry is a mixed-race, Guyanese-British-Canadian mental health advocate, antiracism consultant, writer, speaker. She works as relationship coach for racialized individuals and intercultural and multi-ethnic families and conducts antiracism and anti-oppression trainings for workplaces and corporations. Carla has a special interest in ensuring services for mental and emotional wellbeing available for our Caribbean and African families, as well as for all communities of colour. Her work focused on dismantling stigmas and barriers to receiving healthcare in our communities.

Carla is the founder of DOCUMENTING US, a video and audio documentary series featuring stories of racialized women and men, and is the co-creator of the WOKE WO/MEN’S Stories of Resilience + Challenge Speaking Events. She works to build platforms for racialized and marginalized individuals to have a space to share personal stories of overcoming adversity. The WOKE events focus on reducing the isolation can have extreme impacts on our Black, Brown, Indigenous People of Colour who live carrying the weight of trauma and anxiety alone.

Carla was one of the organizers of the KW Solidarity March for Black Lives Matter and is the co-creator of the Antiracism Community Collective. She is an Antiracism Consultant for workplaces, schools, wellness studios, libraries and corporations who are prioritizing learning about antiracism language, non-performative allyship, diversifying employees, dismantling cultural appropriation for profit, decolonizing wellness spaces and creating businesses that feel like inclusive and equitable environments for racialized and marginalized residents.


Antiracism Consultations for Wellness Studios, Corporations, and Nonprofits:



Donnette became a Board Member of the CCAWR in 2013, but has been actively involved with the Association since she first came to the Region in 2011. Having immigrated to Canada in 2010 she saw this as a great opportunity to connect with Caribbean Canadians and the wider community and a means of integrating into and serving the community.

She received her education in Jamaica at the University of Technology where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Construction Engineering.  Donnette has over 10 years of experience working with community-based Socio-economic Infrastructure and Social Services projects, which involves the development of poor communities through small-scale community-based projects as a component of the Government of Jamaica Poverty Alleviation Strategy.  She also worked in Jamaica with the Commission responsible for overseeing the process for the awards of Government Contracts.  As a Project Manager, she sat at the Commission’s meetings and was also the representative at the Sponsoring Public Sector Procurement Agency meetings. Donnette presently is employed to a major Telecommunications Engineering Consulting Company in Waterloo, Ontario; her work involves providing structural details and drawings of telecommunications towers and appurtenances for Canadian and USA wireless providers.

Having the drive to contribute and make a difference in her community, Donnette participates through her work in Construction. This is unique, international event engaging designers, architects and engineers to use their talents to help those struggling with food insecurity. The event raises funds, food and awareness for local food banks. Donnette hosts International students through various organizations in her community where she provides an English immersion environment, friendship, support and guidance in a caring atmosphere where a wealth of cultural knowledge and experiences are exchanged. Donnette’s greatest strengths are creativity, organizational skills and dedication to task. She has a passion for service and finds satisfaction in a job well done.



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