Registrar of the Supreme Court Barbara Cooke-Alleyne (left) is all smiles after presenting Governor General Dame Sandra Mason with a wooden replica of the Scales of Justice which she handed to aide-de-camp Major Julia DaBreo. (Picture by Xtra Vision Photography.)
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From the roars of laughter that could be heard from outside, the Supreme Court No. 1 could easily have been mistaken for a comedy show by anyone passing by yesterday.
The occasion was a special ceremony to honour the country’s newest Governor General Dame Sandra Mason by colleagues, friends and members of the judiciary for her most recent achievement.
However, almost every speaker who paid tribute to Dame Sandra left everyone in the courtroom – including the GG herself – in stitches at some point during their speeches.
Registrar Barbara Cooke-Alleyne, Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson, Justices of Appeal Andrew Burgess and Kaye Goodridge and even Chief Marshal Adrian Lovell all incorporated humour into their tributes.
Judges, lawyers, clerical officers, police officers and even retired workers took up every available seat at the farewell function held to honour Dame Sandra for her distinguished career in the judiciary and registration department.
The funniest of them all arguably was master of ceremonies Magistrate Alliston Seale, who advised the speakers to be “prompt” as any lengthy submissions which led to Dame Sandra becoming uncomfortable in her seat would be treated as “an act of treason”.
Despite the comical atmosphere, Dame Sandra was heralded as a woman who showed humility and compassion while also being firm, resolute and no-nonsense.
Justice Burgess, who was not present but allowed Justice Goodridge to read his written tribute, described Dame Sandra’s promotion as a “significant loss to the Court of Appeal”.
He, however, said he expected her to excel in her newest field, much like she had done throughout her life.
A beaming Sir Marston said he was happy to see her elevated to her new position and wished her a long and rewarding tenure.
Cooke-Alleyne, now an acting judge, said she was delighted to see the former Registrar take up the “ultimate post”.
At the same time, she said she was sad to also see her go.
“We will miss you. You have been a mentor and shared a wealth of knowledge with us,” she said.
Deputy chairman of the Community Legal Aid Services Commission (CLSC), Rosyln Smith-Miller said Dame Sandra had always been approachable and willing to listen to people’s views and that her appointment was applauded by Barbadians on the whole.
Bertie Hinds, the former deputy commissioner of police credited Dame Sandra with his rise through the ranks.
At one time, he said, the two of them were referred to as the “Dream Team” during his time when he worked alongside her as a police prosecutor when she was a magistrate.
In her response Dame Sandra said she enjoyed her years working in the judiciary and would miss everyone.
She revealed of her 42 years practising law, she had spent 37 of those years working in the judiciary and registration department.
“I’m really sorry to be leaving the judiciary . . . of course I am not saying that I am not happy to be elevated to this position,” Dame Sandra said, as she joked about how excited she was when she received the call from the Prime Minister asking her if she would accept the position. (BARBADOS NATION)