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Justice Saunders – An inspiration to Caribbean people

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How fitting was it that just as our country was preparing to celebrate National Heroes’ Day, a distinguished son of our soil was accorded the highest legal honour in the Caribbean, by being appointed as President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)! SEARCHLIGHT joins the rest of the region in offering our heartiest congratulations to Justice Adrian Saunders on this accomplishment.

Justice Saunders’s appointment was confirmed at the recent Inter-sessional meeting of leaders of CARICOM countries, held in Haiti late last month and announced last Friday, virtually on the eve of our Heroes’ Day activities. In his own quiet way, he has continued the pioneering traditions of his father, Thomas Saunders, after whom the Thomas Saunders Secondary School was named, in honour of the sterling contribution of the older Saunders to education in this country.

The contribution of Thomas Saunders to nation-building was not confined to the field of education, for he made very significant contributions towards the development of the credit union and trade union movements as well. Justice Saunders has established himself as a legal luminary in his own right, but he has made other significant contributions to our own country, and the region, particularly in the development of the youth movement and in politics as well.

It is an irony that one whose name did not readily come off the lips of many in SVG, focused as we are on criminal law, has won recognition throughout the region, and beyond, for his sound legal judgements and brilliant mind. He has won the respect throughout the legal community in the Caribbean and at the highest political level and his appointment is richly deserved.

On a different note, it is also ironic that the President-designate of the Caribbean highest appellate body should come from a country which, while supportive of the CCJ, has yet to break with the British Privy Council and fully accede to the regional body in all its jurisdictions. One can only hope that the appointment of Justice Saunders will help to galvanize wider public support for steps to rectify this.

As Vincentians, we all ought to be proud of the achievement of this very humble and extraordinarily capable patriot. He is certainly an inspiration to our young people of what can be achieved by dint of application and hard work to enhance natural ability. Justice Saunders is indeed a product of the region, having been entirely trained in the Caribbean. He is a testimony to the soundness of our legal institutions in the region and a person perfectly fitted to lead our CCJ to greater regional and international acceptance.

We hail his appointment and wish him all the best in his endeavours.

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