Sir David Simmons remembers Michael de la Bastide

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Sir David Simmons. – File photo

RETIRED Barbados Chief Justice Sir David Simmons has remembered retired Chief Justice and first president of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Michael de la Bastide as a jurist who left a legacy of legal and judicial excellence that will reverberate in the Commonwealth Caribbean and far beyond for a very long time.

Sir David also said de la Bastide’s legacy will be difficult to emulate.

In a statement on April 10, Simmons said de la Bastide’s death on March 30 came as a “great shock” to him.

“Many of us had been aware for some time that he had been suffering from poor eyesight, but it was never in our consciousness that he would leave his earthly existence this year.”

Sir David said he had the distinct honour of chairing the first Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission (the Commission) of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

“And it was especially satisfying to have concurred in the decision of the commission to recommend to the Heads of Government of Caricom that Michael be appointed as the first President of the CCJ.

“Upon the inauguration of the CCJ in April 2005, I predicted then that Michael would have rendered outstanding service to that Court as well as to the people of the Commonwealth Caribbean. That prediction was not misplaced.”

Sir David said in the early years, and during de la Bastide’s tenure as president, the court and its international standing benefitted from his “scholarship, intellectual power, dynamic, leadership, vision and integrity,” describing his counterpart as a “truly great and legendary West Indian lawyer.”

De la Bastide will be laid to rest on April 11 after an official funeral service at the Church of the Assumption, Maraval.