His Excellency, Governor Nigel Dakin, the Honourable Premier: Hon. Sharlene Cartwright Robinson, the Hon Speaker of the House of Assembly: Hon. Dwayne Taylor, Her Excellency the Deputy Governor Ms. Anya Williams, the Hon. Leader of the Opposition: Hon. Washington Misick, the Chairman of the Judicial Service Commission: Sir Michael Barnett, and the Honourable Members of the Judicial Service Commission: The Hon. Ms. Justice Hilary Phillips and The Hon. Mrs. Justice Zaila McCalla, The Honourable Former Chief Justice: Mme Margaret Ramsay-Hale, The Honourable President and Justices of Appeal, The Honourable Justices of the Supreme Court, The Honourable Attorney General: Mrs. Rhondalee Braithwaite-Knowles QC OBE, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr. Eugene Otuonye, QC, His Honour the Chief Magistrate Mr. Hatmin, the President of the Bar Mrs. Oreika Selver-Gardiner and members of the Turks and Caicos Islands Bar Association, the Doyen of the Bar, Mr. Ariel Misick QC, and Madam Chairperson: the Registrar of the Supreme Court Ms. Renee McLean, Good Morning.

I am very privileged to kickstart today’s celebration, for indeed of all the persons gathered here, I am the least qualified to talk about our illustrious, outgoing President of the Court of Appeal, Sir Elliott Mottley. This is because my acquaintance with him has been short, and limited to electronic interaction on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Yet I am bold to say that I know him some, and this is because his judgments point to the man, and the man stands as a colossus, whose eminence is undisputable. This is what qualifies me to talk about him, and to celebrate him.

Madam Chairperson, in strange times when a mere handshake or a common hug given to one’s fellow man, is likely to leave both the giver and receiver in some trepidation for at least a fortnight, we are constrained to meet virtually to say thank you, and to bid farewell to one we are privileged to call our own, an acknowledged judicial giant, who has shaped the jurisprudential landscape of this country, and has had considerable impact on justice delivery in the entire Caribbean Region. Madam Chairperson, in the five minutes I have allotted to myself and to every speaker, I hope to be able to list not just some achievements of Sir Elliott, but to attempt to describe the man behind the work. I attempt this impossible task by summarising what should otherwise take hours to do, in these words:

In both our civil and criminal jurisprudence, Sir Elliott Mottley will surely be remembered for many seminal judgments, including:

Treverson Saunders v. Regina and Lincoln Smith v. Regina Criminal Appeals 7/15 and 28/15 which cemented the need to have properly working recording equipment in the Court system at all times, as well as properly trained staff in the operation of said equipment. This ground-breaking judgment led to a significant and very beneficial adjustment in the operations of the Supreme Court Registry;

Sir Elliott will most definitely be remembered for his judgment in Stan Forbes v. Regina Crim. App. 6/2019 in which the court sought to address a previously uncertain area of the law, being the issue of “exceptional circumstances” pursuant to s.30 of the Firearms Ordinance. He laid out the procedure to be employed where the accused intended to plead guilty and sought to rely on exceptional circumstances.

But perhaps, what will place Sir Elliott firmly and securely in the annals of history, not only in judicial circles, but in the entire country, and which  indeed should have been his valedictory judgment, is his recent judgment, upheld on appeal by the Privy Council, in Michael Misick & Ors. v. Hon. Attorney General, TCI. Civil-AP 6&7/2020 In this matter, the court upheld the constitutionality of regulation 4 (c) of The Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Court Proceedings Regulations 2020 which was under challenge. The court was called upon to determine the issue of whether or not Regulation 4(c) of The Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Court Proceedings Regulations 2020 issued by HE the Governor to enable remote trials, was ultra vires his powers, and furthermore, sinned against the constitutionally guaranteed right of a defendant in a criminal trial to a fair trial.

This judgment has been much sought-after in the Region, and has doubtless helped other jurisdictions faced with similar questions, to carry on the administration of justice with attendant vexed constitutional questions in a difficult time of a global pandemic.

Madam Chairperson, Your Excellency and distinguished guests, if the measure of a man were the letters he bears after his name, Sir Elliott would certainly meet the measure; if his measure may be assessed from his relations with his fellow man high or low, then from all I have heard of him, he does make the cut; but if the measure of a man must be found in his abilities, his commitment to duty, his integrity, or his contribution to society, then, I must pause here to emphasise, that Sir Elliott excels, and his name must be written in letters of gold, as we do today.

This is why this judicial celebration has assumed a national character, for nothing else would suffice to recognise Sir Elliott’s contribution to the jurisprudence of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

I thank Your Excellency, and distinguished invited guests for accepting our invitation to join us celebrate the work of one so deserving of honour.

You will now hear from the Chairman of the Judicial Service Commission.

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