Senate pays tribute to de La Bastide, Tiwari-Reddy

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs Dr Amery Browne – File photo

THE Senate paid tribute to two of its former members – Michael de La Bastide and Amrika Tewari-Reddy – when it sat on April 16.

A former chief justice, de la Bastide, died on March 30. He was an independent senator from 1976-1981.

Tewari-Reddy, a former judge, died on April 6. She was a government senator from 1987-1991 under the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) government.

Leader of Government of Business Dr Amery Browne led the tributes for de la Bastide.

He said his larger-than-life personality could be reflected in the Maori culture of New Zealand where the indigenous totara tree grows for centuries, reflecting the respect and honour of a mighty member of the community.

Browne added that the Maori have a saying when such a person dies: “Kua hinga he totara i te wao nui a Tane.”

The English translation is “a totara has fallen in the forest of Tane.”

Browne echoed this, saying of de la Bastide’s death, “The mighty totara has fallen.”

He said as a senator, de la Bastide was “balanced, reserved, well-spoken, well-researched and respectful.”

Browne also recalled that even before being appointed the first Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) president on May 31, 1995, de la Bastide was passionate about the CCJ’s eventually replacing the Privy Council as the Caribbean’s final appellate court.

Independent Senator Anthony Vieira, SC, said de la Bastide had a profound impact on his life.

“The reason I decided to pursue a career in law is because of him.”

Vieira said de la Bastide was without question one of TT’s finest legal minds and his legacy should be honoured.

Opposition Senator Wade Mark praised de la Bastide as “a gentleman, scholar and jurist extraordinaire.”

In delivering their respective tributes to Tiwari-Reddy, Government Senator Renuka Sagramsingh-Sooklal, Opposition Senator Jayanti Lutchmedial-Ramdial and Independent Senator Hazel Thompson-Ahye all agreed Tiwari-Reddy was a trailblazer for women and broke many glass ceilings in her lifetime.

Senate President Nigel De Freitas endorsed all the statements made by senators about de la Bastide and Tiwari-Reddy.