By anguillian July 31, 2017 13:30




Anguilla’s island scholar, Ms. Gesel C. Hodge, a Sixth Form graduate of the Albena Lake-Hodge Comprehensive School, has been awarded the Dame Dr. Bernice Lake QC Memorial Award to the Top CAPE Law Student in Anguilla for 2016.

She was presented with the Award by the President of the Anguilla Bar Association, Ms. Jean M. Dyer. The presentation, on Tuesday, July 25, was made at the Edison L. Hughes Library and Education Complex in the presence of the student’s relatives and members of the Bar Association. Among those present was Barrister-at-Law, Mr. Kerith Kentish, representative of Lake and Kentish.

Vice President of the Bar Association, Mr. Stanley Reid OBE, delivered the opening address. “This ceremony provides us with an opportunity to recognise the hard work and accomplishments of a young person who has distinguished herself, from among her peers, in terms of understanding the law,” he stated. “While this is significant in itself, I am happy to say that the ceremony offers us an opportunity to remind ourselves, and apprise others, of the contribution made by the Anguillian stalwart and legal luminary, Dame Dr. Bernice V. Lake QC. It is important that we not only recognise the accomplishments of those who are still with us, but that we create opportunities to remember those who have paved the way for others to succeed. The contribution of Dame Dr. Bernice V. Lake QC to the development and practice of law in Anguilla, and the region generally, is well-recognised. This has resulted in her being recognised as an outstanding Jurist by many persons who are well-placed to make such an observation.

“The Anguilla Bar Association determined in 2011 that the creation of a scholarship, in the name of Dame Dr. Bernice V. Lake QC, was one way of honouring her legacy, while incentivising others to pursue and excel in the study of law. The Bar Association is honoured today to host another ceremony marking the presentation of the Dame Dr. Bernice V. Lake QC Memorial Award to a deserving student.”

President of the Bar Association, Ms. Jean Dyer, said that for the past six years the Anguilla Bar Association had been recognising an outstanding student in CAPE Law. Among other things, Ms. Dyer described Dame Bernice Lake as “a formidable advocate; an intellectual giant; and a champion of the constitution.” She went on: “Dame Bernice was also considered a trailblazer. She was the first woman in the Eastern Caribbean, and the first University of the West Indies graduate, to be bestowed the distinguished title of Queen’s Counsel. She had a strong voice, a strong walk, strong opinion and an impenetrable space. She was undoubtedly a role model for females and in particular female lawyers in the region. She was a strong and passionate advocate and defender of individual rights and freedoms.”

Dame Bernice was knighted in 2004 by the Antigua and Barbuda Government for her contribution to the legal field, her stance on women’s issues, civil and political rights and her personal integrity.

Ms Dyer further said: “The Anguilla Bar Association, in recognition of Dame Bernice’s longstanding work and many accomplishments, launched the Dame Dr. Bernice V. Lake QC Scholarship Fund Award in July 2011 while she was still alive. It is awarded on academic merit and is presented to the most outstanding student of CAPE level law in Anguilla.”

Ms Dyer highly commended the student, Gesel Hodge, for her academic prowess in the varying business disciplines especially Economics. “Her passion for business has thus far led to her achieving an Associate Degree in Business Studies in 2017,” the Bar President said. “She is currently preparing to attend the University of Manchester to pursue a B.Sc. in International Business, Economics and Finance. Her achievements to date, but not limited to, are: graduating as Valedictorian of the Albena Lake-Hodge Comprehensive Class of 2014 where she captured the best CSEC results with five subject awards. In 2015 and 2016 she achieved the best CAPE results from the Albena Lake-Hodge Comprehensive Sixth Form with four subject awards. Additionally, in 2015 and 2016, she made the CXC merit list for attaining the 10th and 5th highest grades respectively in the entire Caribbean for CAPE Law.”

Retired Judge, Mr. Don Mitchell, who taught Gesel CAPE Law, joined in commending her for her outstanding academic performance. He took the opportunity to present her with a series of law books produced by him from his lectures to the CAPE Law students in Anguilla.
Replying, Gesel was delighted that the presentation of the Dame Dr. Bernice Lake’s Award to her came on the eve of her 20th birthday, something she will long remember. She was pleased that the award had come from “a distinguished Anguillian lady who has, with profound determination, positively contributed to our local and regional societies.”
Known for her quiet demeanour and humility, Gesel continued: “Like the late Dame Dr. Bernice Lake QC, I am driven and dedicated to achieving my goals. This award is in essence the materialisation and culmination of the late nights’ and early mornings’ pacing back and forth reciting cases as well as the development of my writing skills by completing essays.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my family, friends and well-wishers for their unwavering support and encouragement. Thanks also to Mr. Don Mitchell QC for his invaluable guidance during the two years of my Sixth Form experience. Most importantly, I thank the Lord Almighty for bestowing upon me the strength and the endurance I needed to do my best. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

By anguillian July 31, 2017 13:30


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