Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson believes Barbados’ history “will never be complete” if Sir Frederick Sleepy Smith’s contribution to the nation is not recognized.
“As far as I am concerned, he was a founding father of this nation of ours and . . . played a poignant role in the growth of its first 50 years,” he told a special sitting of the Supreme Court, held this morning in memory of the late jurist.
“It is my belief that the history of this nation will never be complete if a position of some prominence is not given, in its pages, to the contribution of Sir Frederick Gladstone Smith.”
Sir Marston said the former Attorney General, Member of Parliament, Senator and Court of Appeal Justice had served with distinction.
Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite, who attended the sitting along with President of the Bar Association Liselle Weekes, Director of Public Prosecutions Charles Leacock, QC, Registrar of the Supreme Court Barbara Cooke-Alleyne, lawyers, and Sir Frederick’s family and friends, said his contribution had made Barbados “the great country it is today”.
“He may not [have wanted] to have seen himself as one of our founding fathers, but we who were left behind, and indeed those who would come after us, who will reflect on the history of Barbados, will know and should know . . . that his contribution would be one that would forever be part of our landscape,” Government’s chief legal adviser said, adding that there was “definitely a void at the bar.”
Borrowing from Barbados’ national anthem, Weekes described Sir Frederick, who died on “the eve” of the country’s 50th Anniversary of Independence”, as a “craftsman of our fate.”
She said he was a “household name” and the “attorney of first choice” for the masses, and represented youth who had been “misguided by making an error of judgment”.
“No case was too poor, too hard or too uninteresting for him . . . Indeed, he was the people’s advocate,” Weekes said.
After reflecting on his time at the Bar advocating for “swift justice”, she said: “The record has been settled and the case has been presented. This is the judgment of his peers: the appeal has been upheld. Well done, faithful servant of the law . . . .You may now rest your case.”
Sir Frederick died on July 11 at the age of 92, and was buried in a private ceremony following an official funeral service on August 5.