The scales of justice have literally followed Dame Sandra Mason to Government House.
This was one of the tokens of appreciation given to the island’s eighth Governor General today during a lighthearted and special sitting of the Court of Appeal.
Members of the judiciary packed the No.1 Supreme Court this evening for the sitting held in honour of the former Court of Appeals judge, now Governor General .
Leading off the tributes, which were infused with laughter, was Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson who congratulated Dame Sandra on her appointment to the island’s top post.
Despite her new role Sir Marston said he fully expected to see the Governor General at special sittings because she was an important part of the court system.
“If you just look around you will notice that from the highest to the least, they are here to honour you and the reason they are here to honour you is because as a registrar, as a magistrate, as a Court of Appeal judge, you always remembered the least of these,” Sir Marston said as he wish Dame Sandra “a long and rewarding tenure.”
Justice Andrew Burgess, whose tribute was read by Madam Justice Kaye Goodridge, described his former colleague as one who was “rapidly becoming a leading Caribbean jurist.
“We regard Justice Mason leaving us as a significant loss for the Court of Appeal. However, our sense of loss is mitigated only by the fact that Her Excellency is assuming the office of Governor General, the highest office in Barbados,” his tribute read.
Deputy Chairman of the Community Legal Services Commission Roslyn Smith Millar said Dame Sandra’s contribution to virtually every aspect of the country’s civil, legal and judicial systems had been characterized by efficiency, integrity, diplomacy, dignity and excellence.
“You were always approachable and always available to counsel. You were always willing to listen to others views, which is a trait that is much to be admired. You are an inspiration to many of us in the legal profession and indeed to all Barbadians who feel proud to be in public service,” she told the sitting which also heard a tribute from former Deputy Commissioner of Police Bertie Hinds.
Dame Sandra, who was elegantly attired in a beige pants suit, expressed heartfelt appreciation that so many had attended the sitting.
“This evening’s ceremony I will always remember because it wasn’t necessary,” said a humbled Dame Sandra, who revealed that she would miss the court setting.
“Certainly I would not leave the courts behind. Even if I wanted to I am sure the scales of justice will not let me forget where I have come from and certainly where I am going.
“It is my intention to continue to work with integrity and honestly recognizing that I have a very, very serious responsibility. Responsibility not only to the general populace, but to all of you who have worked with me . . . but I promise you that I will do what is expected of me,” Dame Sandra, who practiced law for some 42 years said, adding, “I am really sorry to be leaving the judiciary”.