Long-serving Attorneys, Mrs Joyce Kentish-Egan, QC and Mr Thomas Astaphan, QC have been elevated to the Inner Bar and to wear silk gowns, having been accorded and appointed to the prestigious title of Queen’s Counsel.

The Anguilla-based Senior Lawyers were assisted in donning their robes, in a packed courtroom, at a special sitting of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in its Appellate Jurisdiction on Tuesday, September 16.

The ceremony was presided over by the Hon Chief Justice, Dame Janice Pereira, and the Hon Justices of Appeal Madam Louise Blenman and Madam Gertel Thom, along with Resident Judge, the Hon Justice Cheryl Mathurin. The two QCs, the newest appointees in the OECS, were admitted to the Inner Bar separately and with addresses of high commendation by different speakers from both Bench and Bar.

In her opening remarks, Dame Janice Pereira, gave a brief overview of the protocol setting out the qualities required of appointees to the office of Queen’s Counsel. Among other requirements, such persons must be capable of giving sound guidance to the court; assisting in the development of the law; skilled in the presentation of a litigant’s case; displaying a sound appreciation of the jurisprudence of the region and analytical in the application of the laws.
The Chief Justice went on: “The next is integrity and honesty. These, in my view, need no explanation. They are key qualities as you must have respect and trust not only of your peers, but the judiciary, the litigant and the public. You must have, and seen to have, all qualities which will advance the fair and efficient administration of justice; a defender and upholder of the rule of law. Next is independence. You must be fearless in fairly advancing the cause of the litigant, always of course within the four corners of fairness and the administration of justice.”
Other qualities of a Queen’s Counsel which the Chief Justice also spoke about were diligence, experience – and the contribution of skills and knowledge to the community, the Bar Association and the legal profession in the development of the law and jurisprudence generally.
Dame Janice Pereira, who served as a trial Judge in Anguilla for six years, went on: “I have enumerated these qualities, in part, as a reminder to us all of the responsibilities attending the rank of Queen’s Counsel; and also for the purpose of informing that Counsel, who today move to the Inner Bar, have been elevated to that rank by Letters Patent, which will be read out shortly, because they have demonstrated those qualities.”
The Letters Patent, issued by Her Majesty The Queen through Governor Christina Scott, were read by the Registrar of the High Court, Ms Vernette Richardson, as Attorney Kentish and Attorney Astaphan were individually presented.
The presentation of the Move for Mrs Kentish-Egan was by Mr Dennis Morrison, QC, her former Tutor at the Hugh Wooding Law School in Jamaica, now a Justice of Appeal for Jamaica and Belize. Others who made remarks were Mr John Benjamin, QC; Miss Elneth Kentish, QC (Mrs Kentish-Egan’s sister, a retired Judge in Barbados) read by Justice Mathurin; Ms Ivenia Benjamin, Senior Magistrate; Ms Yvette Wallace, President of the Anguilla Bar Association; Ms Tana’ania Small-Davis of Tortola; Mr Keithley Lake; Mr Kenrickson Kentish; Ms Paulette Harrigan; and Ms Palmavon Webster (on behalf of herself and partner, Mr Harry Wiggin).
During the changing of gowns and invitation to the Bar, Mrs Kentish-Egan, QC was assisted in donning her silk gown by Mr Morrison, following which she delivered her response thanking the speakers for their remarks – expressing thanks for the honour bestowed on her and pledging her commitment to the protocols of Queen’s Counsel.
The presentation of the Move for Mr Astaphan, QC, was done by Anthony Ross, QC, a national of St Kitts residing in Canada, who also assisted him in fitting on his silk robe. Those who joined in giving remarks were Mr Charles Wilkin, QC (read by Justice Mathurin); Ms Yvette Wallace, President of the Anguilla Bar Association; Mr Damien Kelsick; Ms Dawn Holder (read by Mr Michael Bourne); and Ms Nakishma Rogers (a lawyer in Mr Astaphan’s Chambers).
In Mr Astaphan’s response he expressed appreciation to the various speakers, while accepting with gratitude the honour of Queen’s Counsel.