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Address By Her Excellency Ambassador Lolita Applewhaite, Secretary-general (AG.), Caribbean Community (CARICOM) At The Ceremonial Sitting Of The Caribbean Court Of Justice On The Demission of Office by The Rt. Hon. Mr. Justice Michael De La Bastide, T.C. A

​Today is for me, and I would hazard, for all of us here, an occasion charged with mixed emotions, those of sadness but also those of satisfaction.

It is always a sad occasion to say farewell to someone; it is all the more so, when the object of these sentiments of “fare thee well” is a person of such stature to whom the Caribbean Community will remain indebted.

The satisfaction comes from celebrating a job well done in Your Honour’s guiding a new regional institution along the path towards excellence and high esteem.

The Right Honourable Mr. Justice Michael de la Bastide was pressed into service as President of the Caribbean Court of Justice in August 2004, a forum which Your Honour had long espoused as a necessary edifice in completing the architecture of independence of our Community, and which You, Sir, continue to champion fearlessly throughout the Region.

With this Court, the Community was entering into uncharted waters. Indeed the Caribbean Court of Justice is a first in marrying the two jurisdictions, the Original and Appellate, into one Court. It was an unmistakable acknowledgement of your excellence, Your Honour, that You were chosen to spearhead this process of laying the foundations of a truly regional jurisprudence, through the construct of a Body of Community Law.

I can say that that construct is well underway, secure on the moorings overseen by the first President of the Court. I am here today recognising the emergence of that Community Law and the maturation of our Community, and as a willing participant in the celebration of Your Honour’s stewardship over the evolution of the Court.

The Community would have expected no less than that which You have delivered on. Just as the Court itself is a path-breaking institution, Your Honour has distinguished yourself with a number of stellar achievements, from Your outstanding scholastic accomplishments to receiving this country’s highest national honour, and being the only jurist to have been a member of the Privy Council and the Caribbean Court of Justice.

Your Honour, Rt. Hon. Mr. Justice Michael de la Bastide, please accept the thanks and gratitude of the Community for the yeoman service rendered these past seven years, as the first President of the Caribbean Court of Justice. I hope that Your Honour’s skill, intuition and erudition will remain available to the Community.

I wish Your Honour and Mrs. de la Bastide God’s richest blessings.

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