Seasoned Grenadian attorney-at-law Derick Sylvester will take up an appointment from January 8 as a Judge in Belize.
This was confirmed to THE NEW TODAY by Ruggles Ferguson, King’s Counsel on Saturday, hours after the Grenada Bar Association (GBA) held its annual Christmas get-together Friday night at Coconut Beach restaurant on Grand Anse beach where the official announcement about Sylvester was made.
“He has resigned as President of the Bar effective December 31st and he will be moving onto Belize early January to take up duties,” said Ferguson who once worked alongside Sylvester in Ciboney Chambers on H.A Blaize Street in St George.
According to Ferguson, the move by Sylvester to sit on the bench after a career spanning 22 years in the legal profession, will be a totally “different experience” for him but is confident that his colleague’s “life experience” as an attorney would have prepared him for it.
“He is a hard worker, he is disciplined, full of energy, dedicated to what he does (but) in the bench (it) is a different experience but is an experience that he is prepared to take up and to be a success in,” he said.
Ferguson believes that Sylvester’s years of serving as a legal advocate along with his recent two year stint as President of GBA will “adequately prepare him for that job.”
He described Sylvester as one who has “that energy and commitment to finish what he starts.”
The island’s newest KC in the profession also believes that the decision taken by Sylvester to sit on the bench is a very “timely move” by him since it was something that he had always aspired to do in his legal professional career.
“It is not something that he is taking up without much thought – he has prepared himself for this because he has aspired to be a judge for some time,” he said.
“Now that he has gotten the opportunity in Belize – in fact he is the first Grenadian to be appointed on the High court bench of Belize and that in itself is an achievement and I think he will do well,” he added.
Belize is not part of the Eastern Caribbean Court system but has its own court with a Chief Justice in place and is also part of the appellate jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
Referring to Sylvester as a very experienced lawyer who has made appearances in all courts involving Grenada including the London-based Privy Council, Ferguson suggested that this in itself should give him “the kind of experience as a Judicial Officer to be able to handle what comes his way.”
“One of the challenges with Judges and Judging is delivery of judgment and I think that is something … at least we look forward to him delivering Judgments and delivering quality judgments on the Bench in a timely manner,” he remarked.
Apart from sitting as a judge in Belize, Ferguson believes that his colleague will be “quite an asset in the development of the administration of Justice in Belize.”
“Being part of the OECS experience, not just being part of the Grenada experience but as President of the Grenada Bar … I think he will be able to bring new and fresh ideas to the Judiciary and the Bar in Belize that they can well adopt to make their system more efficient,” he said.
A product of the Sir Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad & Tobago, Sylvester graduated with his law degree in 2001 and on return home joined the Law Firm of Seon & Associates and then moved over to Ciboney Chambers before opening his own law firm.
The attorney has also served as Chairman of the Public Service Commission between 2013 and 2018, as well as a Director of the Grenada Housing Authority, the Grenada Airports Authority, as well as a member of the Grenada Football Association Disciplinary Committee (GFA).
Sylvester also had a stint as Chairman of the Allied Health Professional Council of the Ministry of Health, Member of the Board of the Disciplinary Committee of the Grenada Medical Association, and Member of the Public Health Advisory Committee of the St. George’s University (SGU).