Mon | Jan 30, 2023

Veteran civil servant killed in crash days after honour

Rallied youths to be volunteers for a higher cause

Published:Monday | November 28, 2022 | 12:09 AM
Sir Patrick Allen (left), governor general, presents O’Neil Hamilton, veteran staffer of the Office of the Governor General, with his award at the Jamaica Civil Service long-service recognition ceremony at King’s House on Wednesday.
Sir Patrick Allen (left), governor general, presents O’Neil Hamilton, veteran staffer of the Office of the Governor General, with his award at the Jamaica Civil Service long-service recognition ceremony at King’s House on Wednesday.

Two days after receiving a long-service award from the governor general, civil servant O’Neil Hamilton died from crash-related injuries while on his way home from work.

Hamilton was one of four persons, including two children, who was mowed down by a truck at the intersection of Eastwood Park Road and Burlington Avenue in St Andrew on Friday.

Hamilton, who was awarded for 25 years of public service on Wednesday in a ceremony at King’s House, had urged youngsters in a Gleaner interview to volunteer their time and service and not be lured by get-rich-quick schemes.

“I am absolutely distraught and stunned. He will be greatly missed,” said Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, at whose office Hamilton served for 15 years.

“The governor general and staff of King’s House send our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Mr O’Neil Hamilton and wish strength and comfort in this difficult time of grief,” a statement issued by King’s House said.

In his Gleaner interview, Hamilton recalled that it was through volunteering that he would later secure employment to his current position.

He was among 600 civil servants who were recognised at last Wednesday’s long-service-award ceremony.

Hamilton said he was initially assigned in 2007 as a temporary worker, clocking in daily for weeks without receiving a stipend. He would later be promoted to the position of records and inventory officer in the Office of the Governor General.

“I guess persons saw the potential ... and they liked what they saw, and an offer was made and I accepted,” he said.

Hamilton said greater focus should be placed on volunteerism because the opportunity allowed individuals to gain work experience and face challenges that would help to mould their character.

He urged youths to work well and hard even if they offer their services freely.

“Do it with all your might and all your will,” he told The Gleaner last Wednesday.

Hamilton said the long-service honour was an extremely proud moment for him, noting, too, that being a civil servant was about giving back to one’s country.

“A lot of us work behind the scenes, and a lot of times we do the job that nobody really sees upfront, but we understand how the organisations work and we know that without the little wheels turning in the background, you can’t get where you are going,” he said.