It was always Joshua Hamlet's dream to become an attorney, but he took the scenic route to get there.
After completing a bachelors degree in psychology and a masters in global studies at the UWI, St Augustine campus, he spent three years at the Barbados, Cave Hill campus doing a law degree before returning to TT to the Hugh Wooding Law School. He was called to the Bar in November 2018.
But Hamlet is adding a new chapter to his list of accomplishments. He was recently named as one of two scholars from TT chosen for the UK’s prestigious Chevening scholarships.
"I was unsuccessful in my first law application, so I went on to study other things. When I applied again, it was on the last day on which they were accepting applications, paying with my last $90...My masters degree helped me understand international law better."
Hamlet, 34, said his legal practice includes arbitration, commercial litigation, insolvency and liquidation, public law, corporate governance, employment law and trust law. His legal training focused on commercial dispute resolution, particularly involving cross-border disputes and community law within the Caribbean.
He advocates for the use of alternative dispute-resolution mechanisms such as arbitration as a tool for increasing the Caribbean’s attractiveness to foreign investments and trade.
"I have done some criminal law, but I’m shying away from it."
An alumnus of St Stephen's College, Princes Town, he will study for an LLM in comparative and international dispute resolution at Queen Mary University of London.
"It was my only choice," he told Sunday Newsday. "I knew what I wanted and that university has one of the best programmes. It is also an incredible place for networking."
He is scheduled to leave TT on September 15.
Hamlet serves as a branch committee member of the Chartered Institute for Arbitrators Caribbean branch. He has served on the board of the 2 Cents Movement, a youth-led non-profit organisation that uses performance art in youth outreach aimed at creating confident, socially conscious, responsible young citizens, and has worked in at-risk communities in areas of human-capacity development, entrepreneurship and youth activism.
"I've done some work with the Rose Foundation," an NGO that provides social and economic support and services to organisations, groups and communities in need.
He said his goal is to assist in increasing the pool of Caribbean trained professionals capable of dealing with complex commercial disputes and improving the region’s institutional capacity and reputation as a competent and cost-effective venue for arbitration.
"One of the most important values we can have is an ability to resolve conflict. If I could have a superpower, that would be it.
"Not everything needs to go before a court. We need to start looking for ways outside of a court where parties could come to an agreement and find a middle ground on the problem. Alternative dispute resolution sometimes makes it easier for people to resolve issues in a more practical way."
Hamlet, "a big fan of TT," said he wants to excel academically, but the important thing for him is that this course of study will allow him to create opportunities for other people from the region.
"I want to be able to open doors for other Caribbean nationals in this field. The question is, 'How can I push TT forward in this practice?'
"When I return, it's not just going to be with another degree to my name, I want to bring opportunities with me."