The local legal fraternity has lost another longstanding member. Popular Attorney Jonas Mortimer Fitzgerald Coddett passed away Tuesday night in Brooklyn, New York. He was 80.
Coddett, more familiarly known as ‘Mortie’, was born in New Amsterdam, Berbice to Sarah Joyce Coddett and Randolph Coddett. He was the eldest of six children.
He attended the local primary school and Berbice High School. On leaving Berbice High, he worked as a customs officer before emigrating to England to study law. After being called to the bar at Holborn College of Law, University of London, Barrister-at-law Coddett and his family emigrated to Canada to be closer to his extended family.
Shortly thereafter, ‘Counselor’, as he was also fondly referred to, joined expatriates returning to Guyana to revitalize the Guyanese diaspora.
From the time of his return in 1973, Coddett served in various capacities within the Guyana government. He was Director of Mirev Planning Unit, Ministry of National Development; He spearheaded the formation of the Guyana Oil Company (Guyoil) and was the legal advisor to Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources.
In the late 1970s, Coddett entered private practice as a criminal and civil attorney; he was also a serving member of the Guyana Bar Association and practiced until his death.
In recent times, he was a regular contributor to the letter pages of the daily newspapers.
Coddett’s fellow attorneys expressed shock at the news of his passing. Some noted that although the lawyer was “getting up in age” he continued to make his mark in the legal field.
“It is definitely a loss to the legal fraternity. Mr Coddett was senior in his profession and he would have secured a number of successful litigations and rubbed shoulders with legal luminaries in the field,” said Attorney-at-law, Leslie Sobers.
Sobers noted that given Coddett’s experience, those junior to him would have definitely learned a great deal about the practice from him. “He was an older man, but he continued to do his best.”
‘Mortie’ Coddett was a local historian, avid reader, philosopher and domino player. He was described by relatives as “a loving, passionate family man”.
Kaieteur News extends condolences to the bereaved family.
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