Guyanese husband and wife are judges in the Caribbean

July 26, 2012 | By | Filed Under Letters 


Guyana’s economic situation is getting from bad to worse. Its export in rice, bauxite, sugar, gold, lumber, and agriculture is not as good as it was of yesterday year, 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 mal-administration that now exists.
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 Kenneth Benjamin, a Guyana scholar, the President of the University of Belize, Essequibian Carey Frazer; Chief  Education Officer 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, married to 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, and 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 the 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 luminaries 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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