Bar Council pays tribute to late Keith Massiah

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Keith Massiah SC

The Guyana Bar Association has paid tribute on the passing of former Chancellor of the Judiciary, Attorney General and professor at the University of Guyana, Keith Massiah SC, who passed away on Friday.

INews understands that the legal luminary succumbed at a city hospital, following a period of illness.

He was 93 years old.

He leaves to mourn his wife, Maureen Massiah, three children and three grandchildren as well as other relatives.

The Bar Association in its tribute hailed Massiah’s distinguished service to the legal field, saying; for those who walk the halls of justice in Guyana, and seek to ascend to the Bench, his is an example to be emulated.

“The Judiciary in Guyana, in the embodiment of the Bench, may at first glance be seen to be the substantial beneficiary of the service of the Former Chancellor. However, a closer examination of the judicial service of the Former Chancellor demonstrates that both the Bench and the Bar benefited simultaneously from his service,” the Association said.

Following is the full tribute from the Bar Association:

It is with a sincere sense of loss that the Bar Council of The Bar Association of Guyana learnt of the death of Keith Stanislaus Massiah, Senior Counsel; former Chancellor of the Judiciary of Guyana; former Attorney General and former Professor in and Head of the Department of Law, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Guyana (Learned Senior and Former Chancellor). In mourning his passing, the Bar Association reflects on a life of stellar and distinguished service to the law in Guyana.

The Judiciary in Guyana, in the embodiment of the Bench, may at first glance be seen to be the substantial beneficiary of the service of the Former Chancellor. However, a closer examination of the judicial service of the Former Chancellor demonstrates that both the Bench and the Bar benefited simultaneously from his service. A reading of any judgment written by the Former Chancellor highlights the importance of research, scholarship, industry and purity of writing. For those who walk the halls of justice in Guyana, and seek to ascend to the Bench, his is an example to be emulated.

The practicing Bar witnessed the movement from the Judiciary to the service of the State as Attorney General, and considered that shift to be somewhat of an anomaly for its time. A lesson that service to the law can be delivered in several ways and through various paths. Learned Senior continued his illustrious career in law by serving as a Consultant to several Legal Chambers.

The most recent call to service, and the commencement of another chapter in a legal manuscript, was service in the Department of Law, as a distinguished Professor and a former Head of Department. The Department of Law, provided a unique opportunity for the present and next generation to benefit from knowing Learned Senior. His legacy will leave an indelible impression on the manuscripts of his reported judgments, the content of laws passed in his legal service, and the minds of the legal profession in Guyana.

Guyana has benefited significantly from the distinguished service of Keith Stanislaus Massiah, Senior Counsel. The chapters of his legal memoirs may have come to an end, the pages will continue to be turned. The Bar Council of the Bar Association of Guyana extends its deepest condolences to his widow, children and other members of the family of Keith Stanislaus Massiah, Senior Counsel, of blessed memory.