Former Guyanese AG, Sir Fenton Ramsahoye passes on

first_imgFormer Guyanese Attorney General and legal luminary, Sir Fenton Ramsahoye died in Barbados on Thursday at the age of 89. Ramsahoye was a Guyanese lawyer and politician who served for over 20 years in Antigua and Barbuda.He studied at London University where he was awarded his BA in 1949 and LLB, LLM in 1953 and 1956 respectively. He was called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn on February 10, 1953 and was awarded a PhD in Comparative Land Law from London School of Economics and Political Science in 1959.Ramsahoye was at the forefront of the independence movement. In 1961, he was elected a Member of Parliament of Guyana and remained in Parliament until 1973. He was the Attorney General of Guyana from 1961 to 1964 under the Cheddi Jagan-led People’s Progressive Party and a member of Board of Governors of the University of Guyana from 1962 to 1964.As of 2006, he held the record for making the most appearances before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in the Caribbean. Ramsahoye was appointed Senior Counsel in Guyana in 1971. From 1972 to 1975 he was Deputy Director of Legal Education for the Council of Legal Education in the West Indies and head of Hugh Wooding Law School as a professor.Ramsahoye was a Queen’s Counsel and a member of the Bars of England and Wales, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica, the territories of the Eastern Caribbean including Montserrat, and the British Virgin Islands. He was knighted in 2006 by Governor General, Sir James Carlisle during a ceremony at Government House in Antigua.In a statement issued by the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), it stated that it mourns the passing of Sir Ramsahoye, noting that Guyana has lost a great asset to the legal fraternity.DPP Shalimar Hack said Ramsahoye was a great legal legend of Guyana, the Region and the Commonwealth. He served selflessly throughout the Commonwealth Caribbean Region particularly at the Privy Council and the Caribbean Court of Justice.“He distinguished himself academically and subsequently in his practise at the Bar especially at the final Courts of Appeal for the Region, The Privy Council and the Caribbean Court of Justice. While doing so he also served his native country as its first local Attorney General with distinction. So distinguished was his service that he was knighted by the Head of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth,” she noted in her statement.Reminiscing, the DPP said despite having knowledge of Ramsahoye’s failing health, his death still came as a shock. She explained that he appeared for the State in many criminal appeals at the Caribbean Court of Justice, the most recent being the case of Mark Royden Williams and James Anthony Hyles, more commonly referred to as the Lusignan Massacre case.“The legal community, especially in the Caribbean Commonwealth Region has lost a human encyclopedia where legal matters are concerned, be it criminal, civil or constitutional. He was a bottomless well when it came to the law which he expounded from his memory, including the history of the law. Despite being well versed in many areas of the law he was always willing to learn about new aspects. I saw this with him with the introduction of modern anti-money laundering laws. His writing and eloquence is another aspect to be recognised, commended, remembered and emulated. He is truly an icon in the law. He had a command of the understanding of the law and applied it with diligence, astute finesse and integrity,” she noted.In addition, the Bar Association of Guyana hailed Ramsahoye’s commitment to the practice of law.“For over 50 years, since the publication of his treatise ‘The Development of Land Law in British Guiana’ in 1966 when he was 37 years old, lawyers have been thumbing its pages as the standard text on land law in Guyana.Regionally, Sir Fenton has been earning acclaim since the 1970s in the area of human rights in the many cases argued by him at the regional appellate level and in the Privy Council in England from a variety of Caribbean countries. Since the establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice in 2005 and until recently, Sir Fenton utilised his considerable legal skills in representing litigants in the region’s highest Court,” the Bar Association said.Meanwhile, his Excellency David Granger extends heartfelt condolences at the passing of Sir Fenton Harcourt Ramsahoye.“Sir Fenton, who passed away earlier today in Barbados at the age of 89, was a distinguished Guyanese attorney who authored the book, The Development of Land Law in British Guiana”, a missive from the Government stated.Ramsahoye passed away of natural causes. Throughout the Caribbean, governments hailed Ramsahoye’s commitment to the practice of law while mourning his death.last_img read more