Chief Justice says…
Lawyers must help prevent destruction of legal system
Guyana Chronicle
October 12, 2002

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CHIEF Justice Carl Singh told new entrants to the legal profession, at their separate admissions to the Bar Thursday, that worrying signs are threatening to break up the system.

He also urged the newly inducted to accept the challenge of helping to protect the process from destruction.

Chief Justice Singh spoke after listening to a former Guyanese Attorney General, Senior Counsel Dr Fenton Ramsahoye, who introduced journalist Mr Moses Nagamootoo, the latest politician, over the last decade, to start a legal practice.

The admitting judge said Ramsahoye had expressed views similar to his.

Earlier in the day, the Chief Justice admitted veteran broadcaster and one time General Manager of Guyana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Mr Fazil Azeez and said the tendency to destroy “behoves all of us lawyers” on the Bench and at the Bar to get together and help ensure the system does not fall apart.

Both Azeez, whose petition was presented by other attorney-at-law Mr Khemraj Ramjattan and Nagamootoo promised to do all in their power to make sure the high traditions of the Bar are maintained.

The Chief Justice again remarked on the challenging task of helping the legal profession overcome its problems and remain a welded and consolidated unit, a theme he has stressed to all others whose petitions he accepted recently.

Justice Singh said young lawyers must present themselves as a body of men and women of integrity, deserving of the description as “belonging to the noble profession”.

Introducing him, Ramsahoye referred to the background of former Information Minister Nagamootoo who will turn 55 next November 30.

Ramsahoye said Nagamootoo's professional career began in 1964 and he was a teacher at Corentyne Comprehensive School, D’Edward and Zeezight High Schools, all in Berbice, where, among the subjects he taught was Latin, a language significant to the study of law.

Nagamootoo entered the field of journalism in 1971 and has since headed a number of related organisations.

Ramsahoye said Nagamootoo, from a Corentyne family in which his father was a fisherman, ventured into politics at age l4 when he joined the anti-colonial struggle for Guyana's independence and has now come to the legal fraternity with a history of scholarship as well as a political experience that will be an asset to him in his new field of endeavour.

Chief Justice Singh agreed Nagamootoo was a successful journalist, who is eloquent and articulate, skills necessary to persuade a Court.

Justice Singh said, although Nagamootoo is no longer Minister of Information, he is still a minister, because he is a minister of justice.

"Together, we are in pursuit of truth and fairness."

Other politicians who have turned to law since 1992 include former People’s National Congress (PNC) Ministers Winston Murray and Robert Corbin and Member of Parliament Hookumchand.

Ramjattan said Azeez received his early education while religious oriented and it was thought that he would become a priest like his father but destiny had other plans for him.

More popularly known for his eminence as a radio broadcaster, Azeez had been in the media for 15 years, prior to his entry into law school and participated in workshops/conference/seminars sponsored by Caribbean Broadcasting Union, Voice of America, Caribbean Broadcasting Association and British Broadcasting Corporation.

Ramjattan said the most recent accolade bestowed on Azeez was his selection, by the graduating class of 2002 and Principal of Hugh Wooding law School, Justice Sealey, to be the valedictorian at the graduation ceremony in J.F.K. Auditorium of University of the West Indies.

"This is a fitting tribute, both to the high esteem in which the petitioner is held by his alma mater and the calibre of law graduates coming out of Guyana,” Ramjattan declared, pointing out that, after a long time, this honour was given a Guyanese, from among the 250 odd law graduates across the Caribbean.