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Jamaicans making their mark in UNDP

Published:Saturday | January 23, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Nadisha Hunter, Gleaner Writer

FOR MANY years, Jamaicans have played active roles in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) but, in recent times, the level of support has been waning.

Chief of Integrated Support Services at the UNDP Henry Thompson says more local individuals are being encouraged to join the group as the numbers are dwindling.

The UNDP works to improve the lives of people by reducing poverty and inequality, promoting good governance and promoting sustainable development.

"When I joined in the 1980s, a lot of Jamaicans came in. We had a very strong Jamaican team but now the flow is a bit limited," argued Thompson, who is also a Jamaican.

He praised the Jamaican UN team, saying that although they were few in numbers, they made a significant impact on the work of the organisation.

"Jamaicans are very successful and I think we are punching a lot more than our weight in seniority right now," he said.

He added that even in the communication field for the UN team, the Jamaicans have dominated the senior positions.

A success story for Jamaica, Thompson started out as a telecommunications officer and later rose to a high-ranking position.

"I am the only man in my field to advance to the chief of the Integrated Support Services ... the only one and I am a Jamaican," he boasted.

jamaicans in haiti

Thompson pointed out that Jamaicans were among the large number of UN workers assisting Haiti to recover from the 7.0 magnitude that devastated the country.

He said persons could join the group with whatever qualifications they had, as the organisation was multifaceted.

"Anything you are (qualifications), whether it's political, medical or technical. As the UN itself is like running a country, then the same skill that you need to set up a government to run a country is the same skill that is required," he said.