Bridgetown, Barbados – For the second year running a candidate from the Dutch territory of Curacao has been named CIBC FirstCaribbean’s Regional Unsung Hero.
The award has gone to Gerda Susanna Gosepa who was chosen from among 17 nominees who were named Unsung Heroes in their respective countries, and whose work was considered for honour by the programme’s regional judging panel.
The runners up for the 2012 programme were Bonti Liverpool of Dominica, and Vincentian, Edward Williams.
Gosepa who was singled out for her work as a volunteer and social worker in depressed areas of Curacao, has been instrumental in helping to shape the lives of many residents of the villages of Flip, Seru Fortuna and Groot Kwartier.
Over the years, she has helped dozens of families, especially single-parent ones, with the tools to better their lives and move ahead socially.
She is being credited as one of the key persons that helped with the turnaround of the village of Seru Fortuna in the eighties and nineties.
Seru Fortuna is a housing project that was developed by the Housing Authorities in the late 70’s.
The area is infamous for its social problems relating to poverty, crime, drugs, illiteracy, and other problems common in these types of neighbourhoods.
In the remote village of Flip in Banda Bou, she has contributed to many social, cultural, educational and literacy projects, especially for the youth, which have helped many of them to surpass their social isolation.
In the 70’s, she worked as a volunteer and leader for Fundashon Gogorobi, a foundation that organises social, cultural and educational activities for the residents of Groot Kwartier.
Gosepa was born and raised in Groot Kwartie and at the age of 70, she still volunteers with Fundashon Gogorobi.
In the case of Bonti Liverpool, he has been described as a self-confessed drug addict who through his own effort rehabilitated himself and has dedicated his life to saving others.
Liverpool has established a drug rehabilitation program which he calls ‘Wisdom to Know’. He actively seeks out drug abusers in the city of Roseau and in other areas, while those who have gone through the programme, along with their friends and family, also recommend to him people they know who could benefit from the programme.
Liverpool’s programme is based on the 12-step rehabilitation programme of Alcoholics Anonymous.
He also puts his participants through a programme of counseling, to rebuild their self-esteem, and provides them with techniques to prevent a relapse.
A release from the bank referred to Edward Williams, known in St. Vincent as Bro. Fred, as a physically challenged man who has committed his life to the selfless care of others, in particular young children.
Williams’ work is particularly remarkable because he has suffered from polio since the age of 16 years and at present is unable to sit, performing all his work while standing on crutches or lying in bed.
Bro. Fred has mentored children and adults in his community; adopted or housed over a dozen children, provided financial assistance to children and students, provided meals to the less fortunate, taught practical/technical skills and craft to youths and adults, been a Sunday School Teacher, Song Service Leader, Stewardship Leader and Temperance Leader at his church for 24 years and offered food and shelter to the homeless.
The three Unsung Heroes for this year were selected by a judging panel comprising of a number of eminent Caribbean persons, including Sir Shridath Ramphal, former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Sir George Alleyne, Chancellor of the University of the West Indies and Sir Neville Nicholls, former President of the Caribbean Development Bank.
Others on the panel are Mme. Justice Marie MacCormack, first female justice of the High Court of Barbados, Leonard Archer, former High Commissioner of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas to CARICOM, as well as Jones P. Madeira, Court Protocol and Information Manager in the Judiciary of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago; and Charles Williams, former Chief of the Carib Community in Dominica.
The Unsung Heroes programme is now into its ninth year.