Thursday 19th October, 2006

 

New Miss Port-of-Spain wants to be a catalyst for change

 
 
 
 
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Laventille beauty Danielle Hamilton, Miss City of Port-of-Spain 2006, models for Simply Garnett and Lon’s Fashions.

BY CAMILLE BETHEL

Danielle Hamilton is committed to using her crown to help change the stigma that envelops Laventille.

Hamilton who was recently crowned Miss City of Port-of-Spain sat down at the Guardian for an interview where she described herself as bubbly, down to earth, confident and caring.

However, it was the last of these four qualities that was most evident during the interview, as she spoke casually of herself and passionately about her hopes for Laventille and the people who reside there.

Hamilton was born and grew up in East Dry River, Laventille, specifically the area called Leau Place. She moved out of the community a couple years after both her mother and grandfather died. This, however, has not affected her desire on bringing change to the place she still calls home.

“I want to help my community of East Dry River because although I may no longer live there I still consider it my home—after all most of my family still live there,” she said.

Hamilton is a student at the School of Accounting and Management where she is pursuing a marketing degree, but she says her first love lies in child psychology, which she plans to pursue shortly after completing her first degree.

In response to why she wanted to pursue this particular area of study, Hamilton said: “I love children and in recent times I have found that too many children in our country are suffering at the hands of adults and there is virtually no one to help them over come the trauma.”

Hamilton said that after winning the Miss Port-of-Spain title she realised that she could try to use this very title as a vehicle to put things into place and there was no better place to start than in her own community.

She said both the area of Laventille and the people who live there have always had to deal with tainted images because of the high level of crime that exists.

“But the fact is not everyone from Laventille is involved in crime. It is like every other community that has its good as well as it’s sore points.”

Hamilton said over the years, the community has been negatively labelled because of such an unfortunate misconception. She said she aspired to change it, however, by getting assistance from the relevant authorities to implement programmes in the area with an emphasis on the youth.

Some of Hamilton’s ideas for the area include counselling workshops for young mothers and sessions for the children of the community whose parents could not afford to send them to school.

“The reasoning behind these programmes comes from the fact that there are a lot of teenage mothers in my area, so if professionals can come in and talk to them about safe sex and proper parenting skills this would help change attitudes,” said Hamilton.

These sessions she said, should be free, but if there were a cost that had to be attached, it should be minimal since many people would not be able to afford it.

She said she believed this would help keep youth off the streets because she believed socialisation was a key factor in the development of all people.

Hamilton said: “Before the end of my reign as Miss Port-of-Spain, I intend to change as many opinions about Laventille and its residents as possible, by helping people within the area to show the society that good things can and do come from Laventille.

“I would like to think that our society is bigger than allowing a few rotten apples to spoil the entire bunch.”

 

 

 

 

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