Latest update March 27th, 2023 12:59 AM
Mar 19, 2023 News
Kaieteur News – Guyanese-born international lawyer, Melinda Janki has been conferred with the prestigious Commonwealth Law Conference Rule of Law Award, for the year 2023.
Janki known to be outspoken on issues of climate change, human rights and justice was bestowed with the 2023 Rule of Law award at the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association 2023 Conference in Goa, India on 9 March, 2023.
The Conference which opened on 6th March by Secretary -General of the Commonwealth, Baroness Patricia Scotland, was attended by judges and lawyers from across the Commonwealth.
The dignitaries in attendance included President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Adrian Saunders, Chief Justice Papua New Guinea Chief, Sir Gibuma Salika, Chief Justice of Malaysia, Tun Tuan Mat, Chief Justice of Turks and Caicos Islands, Justice Mabel Agyemang, Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Burnet of Malden, former Chief Justice of Northern Ireland., Sir Declan Morgan, PC, KC, Madam Justice Bubile Shonga of Zambia, Ret’d. Judge, Supreme Court UK, Lord Robert Carnwath, UK Court Martial Judge Advocate Alan Large, India Supreme Court Justice B V Nagarathna, Justice Bobbie Cheema Grubb of England and Justice J A Logan of Australia.
The award was presented to Janki by President of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, Dr. Peter Maynard, KC and the Vice-President and Secretary of the Lexis-Nexis Rule of Law Foundation, Nigel Roberts.
In her acceptance speech, the lawyer expressed gratitude to the commonwealth law association. She said she was thrilled to receive the award in India.
Janki noted, “My great grandfather, Rajah Ram Doobay was a Hindu priest who came to Guyana from India. I am a real child of the Commonwealth – born in Guyana, educated in Guyana and England, and growing up in Guyana, England, Trinidad and Zambia.
She added, “This prestigious award has already made a difference. It locates my work in the critical area of upholding the rule of law and challenging illegality. This rule of law award means a great deal to me professionally and personally. We achieve more when we work with others. I acknowledge our tiny legal team and our brilliant fearless Senior Counsel, Seenath Jairam,”
Janki also used the forum to speak on the causes she is passionate about— the impact climate change.
She said emphasized that only upholding the rule of law can deliver justice in this regard. The international lawyer put forward several scenarios to the attendees in her speech.
She asked, “What would you do if you knew that in seven years’ time the mighty Atlantic Ocean would swamp your capital city, flood your home, kill all your trees and flowers…what if you knew that people would lose their property and livelihoods, even their lives?”
She continued, “Suppose you had written a law which said all projects must state their impact on the atmosphere, the climate and the ocean. What if you had persuaded the government to put the right to a healthy environment put into your constitution?”
“I believe you would do like me and use those laws. I believe you would say government and big oil must respect the law,” Janki added emphasizing that the best way to safeguard a nation and its people is to uphold the rule of law.
She noted that humanity faces an existential threat from greenhouse gas pollution from fossil fuels.
According to Janki, the Rule of Law stands between humanity and oblivion.
She therefore charged her fellow lawyers keep up the fight that upholds the rule of law.
“We can save life on earth. As we end our very successful conference, let us take inspiration from the words of one the world’s greatest poets, Rabindranath Tagore. “Let our minds be free from fear. Let our heads be held high. Let our words come out from the depths of truth….,” Janki added.
They are being paid while we are being played…your pain is their gain!
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