Family vows to continue Emery Robertson’s legacy
Emery Robertson Sr has left behind a legacy that his children are not only proud of, but will carry on for many years to come.
The barrister-at-law, who was born on July 31, 1944 died on August 13 at his home in Cane Garden.
By the time of his death, the barrister had not only founded one of the first family-run law firms in St Vincent and the Grenadines, but he was able to boast about being the lawman with three children who also became barristers-at-law.
“My father was everything to me. He was my hero. I always say that…to us, the three of us, and the grandkids,” Samantha Robertson, one of his daughters told SEARCHLIGHT this week. “He was loving, he was a family man, he was my brother’s best friend.”
Samantha said her father was the second of six children born to Henry and Donna Robertson in Union Island. As a child, he moved around a lot.
He attended the St Vincent Grammar School and his first job was at Barclay’s Bank before migrating to England to pursue his career as a lawyer.
While there, he was a member of the Inner Temple. It was also during his time in England that he met his wife, Dr Shirley Robertson.
Emery Robertson Jr expressed belief that his father pursued a career in law because it was truly his passion. He added that it also might have been because he was influenced by his uncle, Othniel Sylvester.
“He attended court up to July of this year. He was passionate about Land law; very, very, very passionate about Land Law…although he would have done some criminal work and that, but his forte was actually in Land Law…” Samantha said.
And when it came to choosing a career path, Samantha said she, her sister Sandra and Emery Jr were given a choice of either law or medicine.
The choice seemed to be an easy one as they all followed in their father’s footsteps.
“He’s left behind a legacy and it’s for us now to continue. It’s not going to be easy,” she said.
Robertson Sr’s eldest, Sandra is a magistrate in St Lucia and although Emery Jr is a lawyer, he also works as an airline pilot.
The law stalwart’s achievements extend beyond running his own firm. Robertson Sr is also a former parliamentarian and he served as this country’s attorney general from 1984 to 1986.
To his children and his staff members though, Robertson Sr was undoubtedly a family man.
“We are a very close family; very, very close, to the point I think sometimes where we’re dysfunctional…in a good way, cus we’d get upset about things like if they don’t call and say Good Morning or if we don’t hear him for a day, we get upset with each other. It was expected that the first set of persons to say Happy Birthday was either him calling us or we calling him. We took holidays together, we worked together…” Samantha said.
She also told SEARCHLIGHT that the firm didn’t have a high staff turnover and everyone there was also considered as part of the family.
Jennifer Douglas-Prescott attests to this, as she not only worked at the firm for a collective 24-year period, but she also watched Robertson’s daughters, Sandra and Samantha grow and often took them to and from school and also to have lunch.
“The experience was good – I had my first child in 1977, and he was very annoyed with me…getting tied up so soon after I just get the work,” she explained.
But she said he never stopped her from working and she also had an opportunity to work with Sylvester as well.
Andrea John, another member of staff at Robertson and Robertson Chambers, said that if she were to expound on how she felt about Robertson Sr, she would no doubt author an entire book.
John, who has worked with the firm for approximately 30 years, said the barrister was no doubt one of the best employers there ever was.
“I could’ve gotten several work but I refuse because the opportunity I going to have here, I wouldn’t have it elsewhere. I’m telling you the truth. Even with Samantha here too,” she said.
John credited Robertson for being a “very good land lawyer” who had a no-nonsense attitude when it came to dealing with matters in court.
But she described him as a loving man, who was for the poor people as he would never turn away anyone even if they couldn’t pay.
“You would not believe how much I am going to miss my father,” Samantha said.
Emery Robertson Sr’s funeral is scheduled to take place on September 9.