Prime Minister the Rt. Hon Freundel Stuart.
PM Stuart pays tribute to late Governor General
THE life and times of the late Sir Clifford Straughn Husbands GCMG, KA, QC, Governor General of Barbados, was remembered by Honourable Members in the Lower Chamber yesterday.
In a resolution of condolence led by Prime Minister the Rt. Hon Freundel Stuart, the late Governor General who served from June 1, 1996 to October 31 2011, was remembered for his significant contribution to the legal profession in his role as legal draughtsman, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Supreme Court Judge and chairman of the Committee on Penal Reform, leading to the reform of the penal system of Barbados.
Sir Clifford, who passed away on October 11, 2017, was born on Morgan Lewis Plantation in 1926. He was a student of the Parry School, followed by the Harrison College School. He went on to teach for three years at his alma mater, Parry school, before going to the UK to enter the Middle Temple, where he studied and qualified as a barrister and was admitted to the bar in 1952. He returned to Barbados where he was attached to a private practice.
Sir Clifford worked in Grenada, Antigua, Montserrat and St. Kitts-Nevis, and Anguilla before returning in 1960 to serve as assistant to the Attorney General and draughtsman. He was appointed DPP in 1967 and elevated to QC in 1968. He was later appointed Judge of the Supreme Court, later Justice of Appeal.
He was called to serve in 1996, following the death of Barbados’ lone female Governor General, Dame Nita Barrow, and for the next 15 years served with great distinction.
According to Prime Minister Stuart, he was “a man of very impressive personal dignity. A man of sartorial elegance. Carried himself very well and who set very high standards for himself and exacted the highest possible standards from others because he knew he could lead by example.”
His appointment to the post of DPP in 1967 was described as a great turning point in his life. The Prime Minister told the Chamber that Sir Clifford always stated he had never set out to win a case as DPP, but to ensure that the facts were fairly laid out in the court and left to the jury to determine the guilt or innocence of the accused.
Prime Minister Stuart recalled his professional interaction as a young lawyer with the late Sir Clifford, adding that it was no surprise that he was elevated from DPP to position of Supreme Court Judge around 1976.
PM Stuart said he appeared before Sir Clifford eight years later in many cases and was able to see the quality of the man up close, as “he steered that case with great dignity and presided in such a way that as a young lawyer I felt very comfortable that my client would’ve gotten the justice to which he was entitled.
“He was a fair and courageous dispenser of justice and that contributed mightily to the reputation he built over time,” he said.
However, he highlighted that there was great a difference between Sir Clifford as a judge and as Governor General, pointing to his great sense of humour, and noting that he was type of person who always shared advice on how one could make life better.
The Prime Minister pointed out Sir Clifford’s love for agriculture, lamenting that this is a feature of that period which seems to be on the decline.
“He made his own contribution to that as well by having this summer camp for children between ages 8 and 12 every year, so that from that very young but very fertile age where you can leave an imprint on young peoples’ minds, he tried to interest them in agriculture. That is a priceless investment in our young people having regard of the role that agriculture plays in every country all over the world, and therefore we are indebted to Sir Clifford,” he said.
He said he was also interested in the Church and the role that it should play on society.
While offering condolences and praying for “the peaceful repose of his soul and in the fullness of time its unceasing refreshment in paradise”, the Prime Minister thanked his family for lending him to the country and the service rendered to Barbados and the wider Caribbean.