Joycelyn Kim Kyte – a woman to be reckoned with By Melissa Johnson
Kaieteur News
July 12, 2004

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NEW AMSTERDAM, BERBICE – In October 2001, she was admitted to the Bar. When Joycelyn Kim Kyte was appointed on April 15, last, she became the youngest magistrate in Guyana.

“I am there to do justice and whether it is a criminal or civil matter, my sole interest is that a fair hearing is ensured and justice is received on both sides,” she said. This could be described as her motto. She noted that when people leave her court, they must be satisfied.

Since she took up her position in Berbice she has served at the Fort Wellington Magistrate’s Court, West Coast Berbice, and in East Berbice at the New Amsterdam, Reliance and Albion Courts.

It is no secret that she is going beyond the call of duty to ensure that the rights of people are not tampered with. From April to date, dozens of persons have been sentenced despite threats she may have received.

Ms. Kyte said that she goes about her duty in a fearless manner. At the beginning it was not this simple but she used her femininity as an advantage. Many of those who appeared before her felt that being of the female gender she would be a walk over; but this belief was soon done away with.

As a Berbician it is only natural that she would opt to serve closer to home. She said that people are entitled to a speedy trial and once a person is denied a pre-trial liberty, then a speedy trial is a must.

Although persons have repeatedly pointed out that the justice system in Guyana has its weaknesses, she said that she works from 09:00 to 15:00 hours to ensure that her cases do not drag on.

She is the youngest of five girls born to Mr. Ralph and Mrs. Mary Kyte. Being very family oriented, she said that there is this bond between them that cannot be broken.

According to her, it was her mother who ensured that she got everything she needed to be the person she is today. Mrs. Kyte is always there to provide that shoulder to cry on whenever things are not going according to plan.

As for her siblings, Kay would be graduating this November as a doctor while Kavorn is a final year student at the Hugh Wooding Law School. Karen is a pharmacist and Kendra is an accounts clerk.

Immediately after completing her secondary education she tried a bit of teaching at the New Amsterdam Multilateral School. Later, she served as an accounts clerk at the Guyana Sugar Corporation.

In 1995, she was employed by the then Guyana National Co-operative Bank.

Off the bench, she is a fitness freak and a sucker for Chinese checkers and chess. Most of her free time is spent buried in a novel.

She hails from a religious family. Her earlier days were spent at the Grace Temple Assembly Church in New Amsterdam. She is now a member of the First Assembly Church in Georgetown.

Her earlier education began at the Hibiscus Nursery School in New Amsterdam, then continued at the St. Aloysius Primary School. After writing the Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination, she topped Region Six and earned a place at President’s College.

In 1989 she was adjudged the Best History Student. In 1991 she was placed on the Principal’s Honour Roll. This feat she repeated the following year. In 1994 Ms. Kyte was the Best Graduating History Student.

She obtained passes in 10 subjects at the Caribbean Examination Council exam and one at the General Certificate of Education examinations.

At President’s College, she did not only excel scholastically but tried her hand at almost everything including cultural activities.

In 1993 and 1994, she was the Editor for her school’s newspaper and did her bit of poetry writing. She performed dramatic poetry for many.

In 1993 she copped the first prize in the Ministry of Education Mashramani Essay Competition.

The year 1995 saw her being accepted at the University of Guyana where she pursued a degree in History. In the Faculty of Arts she was the student with the highest grade point average in 1996, she also gained several prizes, one of which included the Mary Noel Menzes Book Award.

She told Kaieteur News that she then moved on to Law and graduated with a credit in 1999 from the University of Guyana. She moved on to the Hugh Wooding Law School.

Then she did Guyana proud by gaining Grade A passes in the final year.

Today she still lectures in the Department of Law at the University of Guyana, a programme she started in 2001.