EDITOR: The appointment and subsequent swearing-in of former Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Mr. John Alvin Ballah to the post of Magistrate in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is very refreshing. Mr. Ballah took the oath of office on Tuesday 20th June 2023 at Government House, before Her Excellency, the Governor General, Dame Susan Dougan.
In my humble opinion, this young and focused Barrister and Solicitor has the capacity, skill, and determination to add value and contribute greatly to the reforms that are needed in the Magistracy, not only in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) but in the region. I have known Mr. Ballah since his enlistment into the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force on May 16, 2003. His character is impeccable and his judgment is sound. For as long as I have known him, he has always had a noble appetite for personal development and possesses an excellent work ethic.
In 2007, he was transferred to Special Branch Office where I became his immediate supervisor. I saw his tenacity and dedication to duty up close which exuded in the quality of work that he produced. He impressed me, and I was pleased to have been part of the team that helped to mentor him then.
Determined to pursue his dream of becoming a lawyer, Mr. Ballah embarked on a journey to further his education. He attended evening classes, then enrolled at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus to pursue a degree in Law. I vividly remember the challenges he faced and the hurdles that he had to clear before receiving his acceptance letter to attend university and successfully complete his course of study. He persevered then, and now the rest is history.
Today, I am very proud to say that His Honour, Mr. John Ballah has become one of my mentors – and I am privileged to be his mentee. His remarkable progress is an ideal that every young person should seek to emulate.
While the police force has lost a very efficient police officer, the entire nation would benefit from his new role as a magistrate. I am doubly sure that his tenure will be laced with a high dose of integrity, justice, and respect for the rule of law. I agree with the Late American Poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow – “The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight but they while their companions slept were toiling upward in the night.” sMagistrate Ballah, you are the epitome of that potent statement. When others were resting comfortably in the night, you were wide awake “burning the midnight oil” to ensure that you climb the ladder of success.
Congratulations my friend. Continue to soar. Reach for the stars. And if it means sitting on a “bench” to get there – pursue, persevere, and accomplish by God’s grace.
ASP Junior O. Simmons