Bar Association honours legal luminaries By Nicola CunninghamWilliams Pure Class writer Collectively their years of service to the legal fraternity surpasses over 150 years, as the Hon Justice Ferdinand Algernon Smith, Christopher David Rhys Bovell and Howard Randolph Hamilton are men who have distinguished themselves not only in their chosen career path, but also in every aspect of their lives. The Jamaica Bar Association sought to honour the trio on Friday July 22, 2011 at their annual awards banquet held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. The ballroom was packed to capacity with friends, wellwishers, fellow legal luminaries, young attorneysatlaws and law students who came out to hear how these men have charted their paths to success, many times championing the cause of the marginalized, poor and disenfranchised. A video montage was shown chronicling the exploits of the over 30 individuals honoured to date since the Bar Association started presenting awards to stellar members of the profession. Past recipients include Hugh Small, Justice Boyd Carey, Sydney Phipps, Justice Ira Rowe, Judge Patrick Robinson, David Coore, Lloyd Barnett, Crafton Miller, Justice Edward Zacca, Justice Ian Forte, Former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, Emile George and former Chief Justice Lensley Wolfe. Citations were read for each honoree.
Justice Ferdinand Algernon Smith Justice Ingrid Mangatal in reading Justice Smith’s citation spoke of his tireless work as clerk of the courts in Clarendon, Trelawny and St. Andrew before his stints as Crown Council, Deputy Director of Public Prosecution and then Director of Public Prosecution.
He was appointed Supreme Court judge in 1988 and has adjudicated in the Cayman Islands. He is best known however for his many years at the Norman Manley law school where he served as course director and taught criminal procedures. In his response he said he was overwhelmed to see so many of his former students seated before him, now accomplished lawyers in their own right. “My wife would say I have three passions: my faith, my family and the law and I cannot disagree with that.”
Christopher David Rhys Bovell Attorney at law, John Leiba in reading Mr. Bovell’s citation said that he was the living embodiment of what is good about their profession. A member of the General Legal Council for over 25 years and a government senator between 1983 and 1989, he serves currently as the treasurer for the Jamaica Labour Party. A man of impeccable integrity it is said that one former Prime Minister was overheard stating that Christopher ‘is a man with whom one can safely leave one’s wallet.’” In his reply Mr. Bovell thanked those who assisted not only in his own personal journey but also that of his firm Dunn Cox. “It has not been all smooth sailing especially in the 1970s but we emerged and moved from strength to strength. We have had some of the best lawyers in Jamaica. Even now after all these year it still pleases me to here we have a new client. “I mention three particular companies who have been with us for many years Grace Kennedy who are our oldest client, First Caribbean (CIBC) who were clients before 1956 and Alcoa now Jamalco who joined us in 1959 after acquiring a special mining lease.”
Howard Randolph Hamilton Having grown up with her ‘Uncle Howie’ Margaret Ramsay was the best person to read the citation for Howard Hamilton who acted as her father Ian Ramsay’s junior in his formative years in law. “For 52 years ‘Hambone’, as he was known in school, has been a champion for justice having learnt from two of the best — Dudley Thompson and Ian Ramsay, two pillars of advocacy. He has the singular honour of being retained by two Prime Ministers on opposing sides Michael Manley and Hugh Shearer.” In his reply Mr. Hamilton spoke of the values instilled in him by his parents and how his own children are accomplished men and women in their own rights but one of his proudest moments was when he stood in court and had his daughter Candice beside him in the legal profession. “My father ‘Mas Ted’ instilled in all of his five children the importance of education and it is still a mystery to me how on a civil servant salary he managed to send five children through high school. Though he did not live to see all of us graduate, I know he is here in spirit.” TONY PATEL PHOTOS/ JAMAICA BAR ASOCIATION ANNUAL BANQUET/1107 Collectively their years of service to the legal fraternity surpasses over 150 years, as the Hon Justice Ferdinand Algernon Smith (left) Christopher David Rhys Bovell (right) and Howard Randolph Hamilton (centre) are men who have distinguished themselves not only in their chosen career path, but also in every aspect of their lives. The Jamaica Bar Association honoured the trio on Friday July 22, at their annual awards banquet held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. TONY PATEL PHOTO