In a society where increasingly we no longer “listen to the better angels of our nature” but resort to violence to settle our differences, Dorraine Samuels provided the Jamaican people with a sterling example of a better way. For over three decades in broadcasting, she exemplified the best of the Jamaican personality; the warmth, the fairness, the balance and basic decency which mirrors the best of who we have been and can be as Jamaicans. She was indeed an example worthy of emulation.
An entire generation grew up with her voice in the mornings and she became the source on which they relied for authenticity as they listened to her broadcast of the news each day.
Dorraine never allowed herself to focus on the negatives. She made it her duty to accentuate the positive and in so doing lifted people’s spirits with the encouraging words and useful ideas in the “Dorraine’s Coffee Break Morning Show”.
There was also her fun side which came alive in the mornings when she shared the programme with veteran broadcaster Allan Magnus. Her sense of humour, her winning smile and her charming personality endeared her to a public that came to know her as someone who cared. Her colleagues performed with the confidence that she was always there for them.
Dorraine led by example. At a time when we are witnessing the erosion of traditional values even in our most prestigious institutions of learning, our young people need such examples to help them realize the best of themselves and to rouse them to a consciousness of their responsibilities. The tributes to her confirm the generosity with which she shared her life and the esteem in which she was held by her fellow Jamaicans.
Perhaps the most endearing feature of Dorraine’s personality was that her public conduct was an extension of her private life. At home she was a loving person committed to her children, Melissa, Russell and Morgan, and the other members of her family. In the public domain her life and work reflected a fervent belief in Jamaica’s potential to become the kind of country conceived by the founding mothers and fathers of our Independence. In the Jamaica that Dorraine envisioned, each of us would care about the wellbeing of our fellow citizens and seize every opportunity to lift them up rather than pull them down. We would greet each other with a ready smile and spread love.
In her passing, the best tribute that we can pay to her is for us all to work to bring into existence that vision of Jamaica that energized her life and work. We shall miss her.
I extend condolences to her family, to the broadcasting community and to her extended family and friends.