Tag Archives: Orlando Hamilton

The Unsung Heroes of Caribbean Development

International development is all about civil society and governments pooling resources and efforts to change the conditions which give rise to poverty and inequality, in the process helping humans achieve their potential. Central to it all are human beings. Lives. People. For many of us involved in development work, we often start by thinking about everything we will bring to others’ lives. The solutions we are going to propose. The difference we will make. The interaction seems somewhat one-sided. Occasionally however, a light bulb goes off and in a brief instance of self-awareness, we are willing to admit that our perspective, ideas and thoughts are also being challenged, scrapped and rebuilt in the process. We become as much a beneficiary of the process of development as actors of change.

┬áToday I highlight a few faces and persons whom I’ve met along the way. For different reasons they’ve left an indelible impression on my mind. Their words changed something in me and flavoured my perspective – for the better, I think. Thanks to each of you for the role you’ve played in advancing the development of your nation – even without you realizing it! (Click the photos to be taken to the related stories).

Lorna Hamilton Henry. She challenged the status quo. She changed me. Lorna having been diagnosed with HIV many years ago, stood up and continues to speak out about discrimination against PLWHA. My encounters and work with her opened my eyes to some of the unconscious prejudices I held and instead transformed me into an advocate of her mission. Today Lorna runs a small NGO – Mothers2Mothers TnT. Check her out on Facebook to see how you can help.
Mr. Mason is no stranger to the Cuso Jamaica community. He is one of the first persons many of us meet. He runs an unofficial orientation session into Jamaican life, culture and music. Neville is an unending reservoir of fact & popular opinion that dates back to very early years. His unfailing courtesy and smile are always appreciated. He has been one of many sources of contextual information as I developed the child access to justice project.
I met this group of enthusiastic young men in Crossroads – while we were doing cutaway filming of graffiti. They were so open and friendly. Reminded me of the innocence of childhood and all that we should be working to protect. It was also a sobering reminder of the obstacles our young men face in society as they navigate into adulthood.


All of us are not holders of PhD’s or recipients of public accolades. Yet this does not diminish the potential for our impact in society. I met this man in Trench Town a few months ago. As he stood in that position by the wall, he related many stories of Bob Marley’s life and the changes the community has undergone over the years. What a sobering reminder of the importance of the elders in our communities. Through their presence and story-telling, traditions and customs are preserved and history is archived for the benefit of future generations.


There is a popular saying that tells us we should not judge by appearances. Orlando Hamilton reinforced this lesson to me in a lasting way. I met him in the Burgher Gully community of East Kingston a few months ago. Orlando is a UNICEF X-Changer. This programme aims to give critical skills to young persons in communities severely affected by violence. The project is a brainchild of Trinbagonian star Machel Montano. Orlando, through his work both at home & abroad, has fulfilled his mission to resist the stereotypes given to persons from inner city communities. He has a remarkable story – one that will be featured very soon on ISLAND VIGNETTES. Look out for it!