As Guyana gears up to launch the JOF Haynes Law School in 2018, the University of Guyana hosted the first in a series of law conversations where the life and work of the man behind the school’s name was remembered.
New Amsterdam native Joseph Oscar Fitzclarence Haynes, who died in 1988, was remembered as a great Caribbean jurist at an inaugural conversation on law and society facilitated by UG at the Herdmanston Lodge on Tuesday evening.
Haynes was a headteacher at the Mara Primary School along the Berbice River before he ventured into the law profession, and was admitted to the Bar in England in 1945. Born in 1912, he was the first of five children and he drew much of his training and direction in life from his mother, who was a school teacher. The gathering was told that Haynes wanted to become a lawyer after frequenting the Magistrate’s Court in the area to observe court trials.
Acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Yonette Cummings-Edwards, who was one of his students while he lectured at UG, recalled the many achievements of Haynes, who ruled on many cases in Guyana and Grenada, where he served at the court of appeal. She referred to him as a “distinguished son of the soil and eminent jurist; great professor and teacher”.
“He was a former Chancellor and someone with whom I’ve had the good fortune of interacting with,” Cummings-Edwards highlighted.
Justice Courtney Abel, who is penning a book on the life of Haynes, observed that even though the late legal expert was much celebrated, not enough was written about his achievements. He chronicled the early life and background of the celebrated legal expert. Abel’s research also revealed that Haynes persevered through his studies during World War II, and became a Queen’s Counsel (now called Senior Counsel locally) on June 15, 1960, some 15 years after being admitted to the Bar.
“During his lifetime, he developed into a truly world-class and innovative lawyer, alongside and ahead of many others of his illustrious generation and he was at the cutting edge of his craft when he died and he left behind him a legacy as a truly global ornament in his profession, while at the same time making a significant impact on the Region,” Justice Abel observed, while noting that he would reserve the more complex details of Haynes’s life for his book.
The conversation saw participants and the general public examining legal issues and their social impact through research, reflection and debate. Several prominent Attorneys-at-Law contributed to the conversation, which was facilitated by Guyana Bar Association President Kamal Ramkarran. UG’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith announced that all of the law conversations would be live-streamed online. The JOF Haynes Law School of the Americas (JHLSA) will soon be established locally to accommodate students desirous of furthering their studies in the field of law.
The following photos were captured by INews at the event: