Georgetown, Guyana – (January 17, 2018) President David Granger, today, presented four distinguished, long-serving legal practitioners with their instruments of commission, elevating them to Senior Counsel. Mr. Kalam Azad Juman Yassin, Mr. Fitz Le Roy Peters, Mr. Andrew Mark Fitzgerald Pollard and Ms. Josephine Whitehead were officially appointed at a ceremony held in the Baridi Benab at State House.
The Head of State, in his remarks, said that the elevated status of Senior Counsel is not perfunctory or ornamental, but rather it is a symbol of nationhood that promotes a sense of national identity by defining who Guyanese are as a people and the values for which they stand.
“I congratulate the attorneys-at-law who, today, have received instruments of commission appointing them as Senior Counsel – a status of pride and prestige within our legal profession and tradition. The title is: a national symbol, alongside other symbols – national honours and awards, anthem, coat of arms, flag and motto – that define our Guyanese identity; a professional symbol that distinguishes attorneys of erudition, experience, eminence and excellence; a social symbol representing the values of duty and integrity and the standards of social responsibility and respect for the law,” President Granger said.
Noting that the award of the honour of Senior Counsel recognises those whose service in the legal profession has evinced these values and standards, the President said that the simple but significant ceremony constitutes, as President of Guyana, an important personal obligation. Guyana, today, acknowledges their exertions during their long legal careers and applauds their accomplishments at the bar, he said.
“I am a trustee of the traditions which sustain society. I am duty-bound to recognise those who have served with distinction. It is my obligation, not an option, to respect our national system of honours. Failure to confer these awards, whether the result of caprice or malice, would constitute a dereliction of duty and disdain for an honoured tradition…It can encourage juniors in the profession to strive for the highest standards. I shall, with regularity, respect, recognize and reward deserving attorneys and legal officers by conferring these honours. This is the custom of our people. This is the convention of good government. This is the culture of a good society,” the Head of State said.
In January 2017, after a 20-year hiatus, President Granger elevated nine legal luminaries to the status of Senior Counsel and has since pledged to ensure that these honours are conferred annually. Among those who were officially appointed then were the first three women to ever be elevated to that distinguished status: Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire, Justice Claudette Singh and Ms. Rosalie Robertson. Attorney General, Mr. Basil Williams, Mr. Neil Aubrey Boston, Mr. Charles Fung-A-Fat, Mr. Clifton Llewelyn John, Mr. Rafiq Khan and Mr. Vidyanand Persaud were the other legal practitioners to receive the honour.