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October 21, 2014
PM’s daughter admitted to Bar

Isis Gonsalves, the third child and first daughter of Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, has been admitted to practice law as a barrister and solicitor here in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The young barrister’s call was made on Thursday, October 16, at the High Court, before presiding judge Her Ladyship Esco Henry.{{more}}

Prime Minister Gonsalves presented Isis’ application, with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Information Technology Camillo Gonsalves, Isis’ brother, seconding it.

In presenting the application, the Prime Minister, who himself is a lawyer, revealed that Isis is a fourth generation attorney-at-law.

“Her (maternal) great grandfather was a lawyer. Her (maternal) grandfather was a distinguished senior counsel who practised law throughout the Caribbean and was a judge in Africa… I was called to the Bar over 33 years ago, so she has that history,” Gonsalves said.

He said it was Dame Monica Joseph, retired High Court judge who influenced his daughter to choose law.

“One day when the claimant (Isis) was seven years old, she proclaimed to me that she wanted to be a judge, having seen the demeanour and way in which Justice Joseph moved about… She said she would like very much to be a judge, but she doesn’t want to be a lawyer. She had hoped to move from childhood to judgeship without going through the various stages of lawyering,” Gonsalves chuckled.

Gonsalves said his daughter has been quite disciplined from a very young age… My lady, she is a good young lady. I am very proud of her and I believe she has the makings of a good young lawyer. She knows the importance of law and the critical importance of the judicial system, the maintenance of law and order and the role of lawyers in the judicial system and civilized society,” the Prime Minister said.

In her first address before the Bar, the former Girls’ High School and St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College student said most of her success is owed to God, friends and teachers. She also thanked her lecturers and Attorney General Judith Jones-Morgan for allowing her to intern at the Attorney General’s Chambers over the years.

“Thank you to my mother and father. They have been my strength and biggest supporters and the best advisors, although at times, much to my frustration, they have declined to advise on certain matters, thinking it better for me to do it alone,” the young barrister said.

One of those matters in which she said they withheld their opinions, was whether she should study law.

An avid sports lover, Gonsalves said she is confident that she has chosen the right career path.

“While I have other interests, I have settled on law, a jealous mistress. I am thankful for all of the teachers who have imparted knowledge to me and who instilled discipline in me,” she said.

She further noted that she looks forward to being a part of the noble legal profession here, adding that she has a lot to learn and is aware of her duties to maintain the integrity of the legal profession and act in the best interest of her clients.

Her brother, Camillo said his sister, from childhood, has had a strong sense of right and wrong.

“She has been guided by a moral compass that has unfailingly led her to make decisions that are to her credit. Most children and young people will have this or that embarrassing story to tell where their moral compass fails them, but Isis is almost unique in not having one of those tales to tell, because she’s always been guided by a sense of right and wrong and a sense of justice..,” Gonsalves said of his sister.

“Even in her pupilage, she would call me regularly to say she knows what the law says. ‘I know what the statute says, but let us talk about what is right and what it should say.’ She’s had a sense of looking beyond the letter of the law to seek the justice we all know the law would provide.”

The Minister said his sister is of the belief that the law must serve society and that the cornerstone of a just society is a just set of laws well practised and efficiently implemented.

“She will be a credit to the legal profession as she had been a tremendous credit and source of pride to her family,” he said.

Gonsalves said it is his hope that Isis will restore some of the lustre to the Gonsalves/Harris lineage as barristers and solicitors.

Presiding judge her Ladyship Esco Henry also shared brief remarks and commended Gonsalves on her accomplishments and urged her to stay focused.

Also present at the ceremony were some of Isis’s close friends and family, including her mother Eloise Gonsalves and her grandmother Claudia Harris, who came from Dominica to witness the ceremony.

The 24-year-old barrister completed her Bachelor of Laws degree at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, in 2012, with honours.

While pursuing her undergraduate degree, Isis took a year off to study the Mandarin language in Taiwan.

From 2012 to 2014, she attended the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad, where she sucessfully completed her Legal Education Certificate on September 5, 2014. (KW)