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New Lawyer succeeds against the odds

New Lawyer succeeds against the odds


Speak about a woman with perseverance, class and resoluteness, and what you’re doing is describing Ayanna Ophelia Baptiste. The young woman, who took up part-time employment while attending the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, just to help her five siblings, was called to the Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Bar on Thursday, October 23, 2008.{{more}}

Baptiste, who lost her mother, Leslie John, just over two years ago, addressed the court on how difficult it was to cope with the loss while pursuing her studies. Fighting back the already gushing tears, Baptiste said: “My mom played the role of mother and father since I was 12 years old.”

The young attorney, whose application was presented by Attorney General Judith Jones-Morgan and seconded by Director of Public Prosecutions Colin Williams, received her Law Degree with Upper Second Class Honours. She later moved on to the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad where she obtained her Legal Education Certificate. Baptiste’s outstanding academic record at the Hugh Wooding Law School earned her membership on the Principal’s Roll of Honour and the Merit award.

The Richland Park resident vowed to be an asset to the profession whose name has been dragged through the mud in recent times. “I believe that despite the fact that the profession’s good name has been dragged through the mud by a few unsavoury characters, the profession still retains the right to be called noble,” Baptiste stated. The young attorney further added that she intends to be an example by which the profession can be judged positively by both the public and members of the profession.

The 25-year-old reminisced about her first day at the Community College when she told her mother that she intends to get a scholarship and make her proud. The National Scholar dedicated her call to the Bar to her mother and stated that “If she were here, she would have been behind me with tears of joy in her eyes,” Baptiste stated.

Baptiste openly thanked her family members and all who supported her throughout her sojourn.

Both Jones-Morgan and Williams described the young barrister as a responsible individual who loves the law and will take it to the next level.

Justice Frederick Bruce-Lyle noted that for such a young person, Baptiste had gone through many of the pressures of life and it is something that should be applauded. “These are the unsung heroes that go without notice. You never let anything keep you down, and you have a fighting spirit,” Bruce-Lyle noted. He urged Baptiste also not to forget where she came from and to strive to lift the image of the legal profession here and take it in a different direction.

Baptiste will be attached to the Chambers of the Attorney General.