AFTER seven years, there is a new Executive of the Bar Association of Saint Lucia. Outgoing President, Andie George, and his team including Vice President Michelle Anthony-Desir; Secretary Thaddeus Antoine and Treasurer Brenda Floissac-Fleming should be commended for a job well done.
The incoming President is Mary Juliana Charles; Treasurer, Lorraine Debra Glace and yours truly as Vice President.
In this article, we look briefly at some of the achievements of the previous administration and the operation of the Bar Association.
The Bar Association is made up of its general membership which is estimated at about two hundred (200) practising attorneys in Saint Lucia. All lawyers in Saint Lucia are automatically members of the association even if they have not paid their annual membership fees. The fees vary according to seniority. In order to participate in the electoral process of the Bar Association, members must have paid their membership fees for that year.
The Bar Council is made of the Executive: President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer; Queens Counsel: Anthony Mc Namara, QC, Peter I. Foster, QC, Tyrone Chong, QC, Kenneth Foster, QC, Michael B.G. Gordon, Q.C and Kenneth Monplaisir, QC; and four attorneys of less than ten years call: Jahn Sifflet, Shervon Phillips, Billie Sadoo and Georgette Adonis; and two attorneys of more than ten years call: Ramon Raveneau and Renee St. Rose. The Secretary will be nominated by the Bar Council at its first meeting from among the members of the Council in January 2015.
During his tenure, Mr. George and his team have accomplished a lot. In their first Bar meeting, they formed various sub-committees including: the Publications sub-committee, the Social Committee, the Registry sub-committee; Bank Panel sub-committee; and Legal Aid sub-committee.
The two sub-committees that the writer was involved in are the Publications sub-committee and the Social sub-committee. The Publications sub-committee- the Chairperson and Editor, Peter I. Foster, QC went onto to have three publications of The Brief, a magazine in which lawyers wrote articles about topical areas of the law; Recent Calls to the Bar and even Legal Jokes. In each magazine, there was an interview with an attorney in the segment called ‘Getting to know your lawyer’ and case reviews. It is hoped that The Brief will be revived under the new Executive. The writer was the Managing Editor, responsible for gathering articles, meeting with the publisher and assisting with fundraising. Other members included: Cheryl Goddard-Dorville, Samantha Charles and Tonjaka Hinskon.
The Social sub-committee headed by Clemar Hippolypte organised many social events including Christmas dinners, a fashion show, and farewell dinners for retiring judges and Chief Justices. Other members included: Cheryl Goddard-Dorville, Natalie Augustin, Thomas Theobalds and Ramon Raveneau.
Mr. George ran the Bar Association from his office and assigned one of his assistants, Carmen Mc Gowan, who did an excellent job sending out regular emails, notices and the like to the members of the Bar Association. Such regular communication from the Bar Association was welcomed including weekly cause lists, announcements of appointments of judges and notification of the passing of a colleague or relative of a colleague, as well as funeral arrangements.
There were numerous general Bar Meetings called to discuss matters relating to lawyers and the general public. There were even more Executive and Bar Council meetings to make decisions about the operation and management of the Bar Association.
Mr. George led the strike in September 2009 to protest the conditions of the courts, which saw the courthouse becoming air conditioned in the foyer and security implemented to gain entrance to the courts. There were complaints about the conditions of the courthouse specifically in relation to the judges’ health and well-being. To that end, one of the judges is sitting at a makeshift courtroom at the Fisheries Complex in Sans Souci, Castries for the past year.
There were also discussions on behalf of the Bar Association in relation to the bank panel, conditions of the courthouse and many other concerns raised by the general membership of the Bar Association.
In my humble opinion, Andie George took his role seriously, sacrificed both personally and professionally to ensure that the members of the Bar were properly represented on every occasion. Any media coverage was limited to invitations by the media on a particular topic, which was time sensitive. He was always well prepared and gave measured and deliberate responses. Mr. George and his team presented a positive public image of lawyers to the general public in their professionalism, business practices and personal commitment to the Bar Association and serving the people of Saint Lucia. We wish the incoming Bar Council the best of luck in their new roles.
Ms. Trudy O. Glasgow is a practising attorney at the law firm Trudy O. Glasgow & Associates and a court-appointed mediator in Saint Lucia (and has also taught law at University level in the UK)*
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Next week: Legal Aid in Saint Lucia
Hello Trudy some months ago I emailed your practice with the view to request legal advice in St Lucia to-date I have not received a response, putting that matter aside can you clarify 4 burning questions regarding the general make up and procedures that inform the Bar Association.
(1) Are the 2 members of the Executive, Peter Foster (QC) and Kenneth Foster (QC) related.
(2) Is it normal practice to have Executive members of the Bar Ass in Government and would that encourage “abuse of power”.
(3) How do these arrangements comply with the tenets of the St Lucian Constitution, particularly Chapter 1 s6 & s12.
(4) how likely are individual St Lucians to receive proper legal representation from individual members of the Bar Association without fear of reprisal.