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Husband and wife serving as judges on OECS bench

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Fri, Jul 27. 2012

Editor: Guyana’s economic situation is going from bad to worse. Its export in rice, bauxite, sugar, gold, lumber and agriculture is not as good as it was of yesteryear, but its export in human resources is mounting – the brain drain is robbing the country of qualified and talented persons, hence the reason for the maladministration that now exists.{{more}}

Maybe the massive and barefaced corruption which is the order of the day is due to an incompetent government which cannot properly control its officials.

And while the country is suffering from the brain drain, other countries are benefitting tremendously from the expertise and talents of Guyanese. I recall several years ago I attended a regional law conference in Port of Spain and Guyanese represented five Caricom countries at the confab.

Now, the region has a large number of Guyanese holding top positions in various fields. For instance in Belize, in Central America, the country’s Chief Justice is Kenneth Benjamin, a Guyana scholar; the President of the University of Belize is Essequibian Carey Frazer the Chief Education Officer is Christopher Aird, three Puisne judges, Oswell Legall, Minette Hafez, and Denis Hanomansingh, Scientific Advisor of Climate Change Dr Ulric Trotz, former Caricom Chief Fisheries Officer Hugh Saul, and former Chief Agricultural Officer Neville Mc Andrew are all from the Co-operative Republic. I also served in that Central American country as Solicitor General and worked for five years in St Vincent and the Grenadines as Solicitor General and acted as Director of Public Prosecutors for three years as well.

Many medical doctors and other professionals who qualified from the University of the West Indies (UWI) married Jamaicans and did not return home, and dozens of them are now scattered all over the world – many of them have not only excelled as professionals, but are entrepreneurs and make significant contributions to their adopted countries.

Our own Sir Shridath Ramphal who served three terms as Commonealth Secretary General, who now lives in Barbados, has been trying for decades to forge a better link among regional countries, and he has been doing an excellent job, and so is Sir Fenton Ramsahoye, who is an expert on Constitutional law, and is now based in Port of Spain.

Keith Thom, of New Amsterdam has recently been appointed a judge in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, based in Antigua and has joined his Essequibo born wife, Gertel Thom who is attached to St Vincent circuit on the Judicial Bench. It seems as if this is the first time that a husband and wife are serving as High Court judges in the same jurisdiction at the same time. There are several legal luminanries like the Luckhoos in Georgetown and the Rattrays in Jamaica, but no husband and wife sat together on the judicial bench. It should be noted that the Thoms are Guyanese and it is quite an achievement for them to be appointed judges in another jurisdiction.

Oscar Ramjeet

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