Baldwin Dulston had no aspirations to receive national recognition when he started to learn leather craft and jewellery design, through a government skills-training programme in Flankers, in Montego Bay, St James, approximately three decades ago.
He was, therefore, amazed when he was named among the 171 persons who received awards at the National Honours and Awards Ceremony, on National Heroes Day, at King’s House on October 16, 2017.
Mr Dulston received the Badge of Honour for his service to the Craft Industry in Jamaica, a sector in which he has been active since the early 1980s.
“I was not looking forward to this level of acknowledgment. But, I have a friend who always says: ‘Blessed is the man who expects nothing, as he is never disappointed.’ I was not looking for national honours; as, I was satisfied with the gratitude from the persons whom I have assisted,” stated Mr Dulston.
“Therefore, receiving national recognition from my country is overwhelming; and I am indeed proud to be recognised in this manner,” he added.
The trained tanner became involved in the craft sector when he was among a group of 21 at-risk young people in the inner-city community of Flankers, in Montego Bay, three decades ago, who benefitted from skills training. They received opportunities to change their lives.
Today, he and his wife, Joy, operate “Balando Designs,” which produces: sandals, belts, hand bags, and wallets for the local and overseas markets. In addition, he conducts art and craft workshops during the summer for church groups.
“I have been recognised by churches for teaching art and craft to youngsters during summer. I have also received the Sam Sharpe Award in Art and Craft from the parish of St James. But, my work has always been about service, rather than expecting accolades,” he explained.
Mr. Dulston, who is a trained mediator and Justice of the Peace, employs six persons in his business; and, is also active in Flankers where he still resides.
“My passion has always been to help others. When I serve, I do so out of my desire to impart what I have learned; consequently, one of my greatest satisfaction is being involved in my community,” he emphasised.
Mr. Dulston, maintains a longstanding relationship with JN Small Business Loans, who provide tangible support to the maintenance and growth of his business.
Mrs Gillian Hyde, general manager of JN Small Business Loans said, “Over the years we have maintained a solid relationship with Mr Dulston and his company. During this time, he has been active in his community. He is also passionate about the craft sector, which he wants to become one of the engines of growth in the Jamaican tourism.”
On behalf of JNSBL’s management and staff members, Mrs Hyde extended congratulations to Mr Dulston on his national award; and pointed out that, “When people move forward together, success becomes a natural result of their endeavours.”
Outside of his company operations and community involvement, Mr Dulston is already planning for the future by being involved in another area of the arts.
“I will be writing my autobiography,” he stated. “It will relate my struggles; love for the industry; as well as, my efforts to assist persons in my community. I enjoy giving back; and I am writing this book, so that my story will positively influence others.”