A day in the life of Chief Magistrate (ag) Juliet Holder Allen
Stabroek News
February 3, 2002

"I wake up at 4:00am every morning. I have a time clock inside of me that [wakes me] directly at 4:00, no matter how sweet the dreams are. That gives me time to start working, start doing the court work like if I have any case to read - and look at any other matter for court. I would work until 5:00.

"At 5:00, I have a bath and start preparing breakfast for my family, and we have breakfast soon after.

"I call my mother at 6:00 every morning, to find out how she passed the night and if there are any affairs I need to attend to for my family.

"Around 6:30, after breakfast, I have another bath that's when I am preparing to come to work otherwise my perfume won't smell right. When we are ready, if I am driving, I take my daughter to school, if not my husband takes her. So I come straight to work and I am normally here around 8:15 or 8:20.

"If I am doing a Court before I come to Court Two, I go there; I also go straight to the office downstairs to make sure all the preparations for the day are done. I then speak to the Chief Clerk of Court, see if there is any out of town assignment, or to arrange transportation for magistrates going out of town, or deal with any urgent matter that needs to be disposed of, or messages sent. We will take care of those things, then I come up into the office and look at the day's news.

"If there are any last minute applications or anybody brings letters of adjournment, I look at them and put them in the case jacket. During the day there are so many things I have to think about when the matters come before me.

"The most important consideration is the safety of the society for the cases like break and enter and larceny, [and] robbery under arms.

"The second thing is harmonious living between members of society like matters of assault between family members, assault between neighbours, assault between spouses. The most import consideration ... is [that] persons live in a way that is friendly. I don't really want to treat that too much as a serious offence. My main objective in those matters is whether the person living there would go back and do the same thing, or the environment they come from. If it is neighbours, I look at the important relationship of neighbours, with emergencies like fires, heart attacks, burglary - I prefer living good with each other rather than as enemies.

And then there will be other matters, like trafficking, rape, narcotics. Those matters in my opinion are not prevalent in Georgetown; there are more important matters like robbery and choke and rob...

"The court day will finish and then I have administrative responsibilities to make sure that all the prisoners have their warrants signed and accounted for, [and] all the out of town magistrates and all those prisoners are accounted for.

"After work - I normally finish work at 4:30pm - I would go to the market and do my shopping. I would also look after any chores I have to do for my mother. If I need to go to the supermarket I would go and then pick up my daughter and the whole family would head back home. Again at 6:00, I call my mummy and then have my bath.

"After my bath, I start preparing meals for my family. I always prepare my family meals for my family, whatever has to be baked I prepare, and the vegetables steamed.

Once everything is prepared and in the oven, at 7:00, I call my friend Agnes, we have to talk, like if anything is bothering me that I need to talk about, and so on.

"Between 7 and 8, we have dinner and then 8 to 9, I spend that time with my daughter, we chat, we read books and at 9 she will leave to do her homework.

"Myself and Mike will talk, then I will go on the internet to see if I have any mail and if I need to send any... If I want to [I will] read a magazine at the time, because at the end of the day I can't do any serious work.

"So I normally go to bed at 10 or anytime after; I only stay up if I have really important things to do."