The Suzie I Knew

by Rick Wayne

Precise dates hardly matter. What does matter is that Suzie d’Auvergne’s law chambers were always open to me, whether in her time as a regular lawyer or as Director of Public Prosecution (she was the first female to hold that office).

I never visited her at home; never knew where she lived. And of course, recluse that I am, she had no idea where I hid myself when not at my office. But I dare to say we were close; shared confidences and lots of “inside” jokes. I especially loved to tease her about how she had somehow escaped the bonds of marriage!

Very early in what I might refer to as “our special relationship” I discovered Suzie (that’s how I always addressed her in private) had a fine sense of the absurd. I was struck by her uncommon courage, her eagerness to go where most Saint Lucian men, let alone women, feared to tread. To further abuse the cliché, she called it as she saw it—in and out of court!

At a time when it was considered impolite and déclassé to utter the proper names of certain body parts, when witnesses and even police officers spoke of “cackalacs” and “cockolocs,” the DPP Suzie d’Auvergne, while summing up at the end of a rape trial involving a somewhat retarded young girl and her caretaker—a police officer—addressed the judge as follows: “What we have here is a case of gun in hand, penis in vagina!”

I was widely criticized for reproducing precisely as she had delivered it the DPP’s statement in the STAR. And I mean criticized a whole lot more harshly than was the rapist (who, by the way, was sentenced to several years in prison!) What makes this story especially memorable, for me, was the demonstrated boldness of DPP d’Auvergne when, so to speak, she chose to call a penis a penis.

And then there was my sub-title: “Suzie Gets Her Man!” I was playing with the well known (outside Saint Lucia) Royal Canadian Mounted Police motto: “The Mounties Always Get Their Man!” I had only been back a few months, after years in the U.S., and had not anticipated the hypocritical furor.

Suzie got the joke, of course. She also let me know about several local savants who had advised her to sue me for implying . . . but then I need not go into the absolutely absurd reasons they offered the DPP, soon to be a supreme court judge. At any rate, not at this time.

I will miss Suzie’s hugs, her whispers in my ear that she was praying for me. (I suspect she prayed for a lot of other people . . . but that’s for another show!) Never mind that her close relative and my once upon a time friend Ausbert and I had on occasion crossed swords, that was never Suzie’s business. We never talked about that.

I will miss calling her for an opinion or for a hint where to look up a particular point. In the same way I miss Sir Vincent. But more on all of that at a later date.

From THE STAR Files

Tribute to Justice Suzie d'Avergne

Ms. Suzie, as affectionately known to many, created some of our headlines through the years. The one above being the most remembered. She was also featured in our December 1999 issue of SHE Magazine (Far right).


From the Governor General

Since the untimely passing of the late Justice Suzie d’Auvergne, tributes to her life of national service and to her personal character and attributes have been coming in from people of all walks of life, and from every institution with which she was associated both at home and abroad. And how positive and salutary have they all been!  As we prepare to commit her mortal remains to her grave, I want to add my own tribute to the many that have been aired and shared on both traditional and social media.  I was indeed very saddened by her leaving us, especially as it all seemed to have happened so quickly.


When one speaks of eminent jurists in Saint Lucia, Suzie undoubtedly features high on the list.  She took her judicial oath seriously, discharging her duty without fear or favour, malice or ill-will. It is not often that a “prophet finds acceptance in his own country”, but Suzie did.  She dispensed justice in her own country, among her own people, with firmness and fairness, and for this, she earned the respect of law-breakers and law-abiding citizens alike.


I remember very vividly her administering the Oath of Office on my appointment as Governor General on the morning of September 17, 1997, almost seventeen years ago.  We were both struck by the happy coincidence of the dates of our swearing-in as first national females in our respective posts.  From then on, a bond of mentor and friend developed between us.  Thus she would give me advice without my even soliciting it, and would call me from time to time to reassure me whenever there was the slightest whiff of criticism levelled at me or when there was a difficult decision to take.  “Your Excellency” she would say, “just do what you think is right; don’t let people trouble your head”.  And how right she often was!


I admired her for her unwavering faith, her deep spirituality, her wit and good humour.  Such a pity that there may not have been enough time for her to record the vast trove of historical data, information and anecdotes handed down to her by her father, the inimitable Sullivan d’Auvergne, and which she shared with such fidelity and aplomb.  Her own experiences at school, in her community and on the Bench supplemented those of her father, and these will remain among those who knew her, the d’Auvergne legacy.


She was indeed a jewel in our national crown, and a beacon to light the path of those among us who would wish to follow in her footsteps.  She will be surely and sorely missed.  Her life’s work of service and stewardship ended, may God’s richest blessings and mercies attend her.


Sometimes, people come into our lives, and like shadows disappear.  But Suzie’s spirit will remain with us for many a year.  May she rest in peace.  But then again, she might very well be busying herself trying to put things right, on the other side!  That would be so like Suzie!


Dame Pearlette Louisy

Governor General

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From the Prime Minister “WE HAVE LOST A GEM”

The following statement is issued by Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, on the death of Justice Suzie d’Auvergne:

“God gives to every human being the virtue, temper and understanding that lifts them into life and lets them fall in just the niche they were ordained to fill.

Once more, the long arm of death has reached out and plucked one of our gems from us. It has robbed us of someone who has given much and who asked for little in return. Whether as a Magistrate, Solicitor General, our first native born Director of Public Prosecutions and latterly, our country’s first female Judge, Suzie d’Auvergne served with distinction and courage. She was fearless.

For all her high office, she never lost the common touch and even as a High Court Judge most people still referred to her simply as “Suzie”. She was everyone’s counsellor, sister, aunt and even mother.

She dispensed justice impartially and was never afraid to speak her mind. In a jurisdiction where it is highly unusual for a judge to serve in his or her own country, Suzie broke the mould and served in the land of her birth for most of her years on the Bench. Still no one ever questioned her judicial decisions. No one ever sought to have her recused on account of her familiarity with or knowledge of either an accused or defendant or a virtual complainant for Suzie was able to put everyone at ease.

Retirement from the Bench would see no letup in her service to country and when she was called upon by my government to head the Constitutional Review Commission, she unhesitatingly agreed. Exhausting as was the exercise, Suzie never complained as she travelled the length and breadth of Saint Lucia. She engaged Saint Lucians in all walks of life, whether at home or in the diaspora. Sadly, she will not be present when we debate her Commission’s final report later this year. We owe her that debate.

Her love for justice would also see her accepting the position of Chairman of the Police Complaints Commission, a position she held until her untimely passing. There, too, she served with honour and distinction.

More recently, acting in her own deliberate judgment after consultation with the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition as mandated by our Constitution and clearly mindful of Justice d’Auvergne sterling contributions, the respect and admiration she earned, Her Excellency, the Governor General, appointed Suzie to head Saint Lucia’s Electoral Commission. She held that position until her passing.

Upon accepting her appointment to head the Electoral Commission, Justice d’Auvergne became the first female to hold the position.

Ironically, when in 1997 the country was set to install its first female Governor General, it fell to Justice d’Auvergne to administer the oath of office. This she did on 19 September 1997, exactly seven years to the day when she was herself sworn in as the country’s first female judge.

Madame Justice Suzie d’Auvergne will be missed but her legacy will live on. I will always cherish her words of comfort in my moments of distress. She did not fail me even in the closing hours of her life.

It was Clarendon who said: “The Law is the standard and guardian of our liberty; it circumscribes and defends it. But to imagine liberty without a law is to imagine every man with his sword in his hand to destroy him who is weaker than himself and that would be no pleasant prospect to those who cry out most for liberty.”

Fortunately for us all, Saint Lucia had Suzie.

On behalf of the Cabinet of Ministers and the people of Saint Lucia, I thank her for her selfless service to country and now commend her to the ages.

May she rest in eternal peace.”

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From the Eastern Caribbean Surpeme Court

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme mourns the passing of the Hon. Justice Suzie d’Auvergne who died on Monday, 18th August 2014.

Justice d’Auvergne’s lifelong goal was to be a judge. In pursuit of this she attained a law degree at the University of London in 1972 and was called to the Bar on 9th January 1975. The ultimate goal was realized when she was appointed as a High Court judge of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in September 1990, serving in various jurisdictions including the Territory of the Virgin Islands and her native Saint Lucia. She ably served at both levels of the judicial system, and retired as an Acting Court of Appeal Judge in December 2004.

Her contribution to jurisprudence was not limited to the region, since she was named Judge of the International Labor Organization (ILO) Administrative Tribunal on 15th June 2011. She also served as a judge of the Organization of American States (OAS) Administrative Tribunal to which she was appointed in 2009.
Prior to her elevation to the Bench, Suzie d’Auvergne served as Saint Lucia’s Director of Public Prosecutions, and was the Island’s first ever female Solicitor General.

In addition to actively contributing to the field of law she served on various Boards, including: Board of Governors, Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (1988 – 1990); Chair, National Archives Authority of Saint Lucia (1995 – 2003); Chair, Rehabilitation of Offenders Board (appointed in 2009); Police Complaints Commission (appointed in 2006); Chair, Constitutional Reform Commission, established to review and amend Saint Lucia’s Constitution (appointed in 2009).
In recognition of her sterling contribution to society, she received several awards/honors, including: Saint Lucia Medal of Honor for outstanding service to the cause of justice (2004), Papal Bene Merenti Medal (2004), and Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) Award (2005).

To commemorate her life, a Special Sitting will be convened at the Saint Lucia High Court of Justice on Monday, 25th August 2014, 9:00 a.m. She leaves to mourn three sisters, one brother, other relatives and friends; to whom the Hon. Chief Justice, Dame Janice Pereira, Judges, Management and Staff of the Court offer heartfelt condolences.

Her voice is stilled; but the sounds will continue to reverberate down through the corridors of time.

May her soul rest in peace!

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The LUCELEC Trust Inc., the philanthropic arm of the Saint Lucia Electricity Services Limited (LUCELEC) would like to extend condolences to the family of Justice Suzie d’Auvergne who died on Monday morning, August 18, 2014.

A Retired High Court Judge of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, Justice D’Auvergne served on the Board of the LUCELEC Trust from March 6, 2010 until her death.

The LUCELEC Trust Inc. was formally established on October 15, 2005 to provide financial assistance within a number of categories including Religious, charitable, medical, educational institution and sporting body.

Justice D’Auvergne was one of five LUCELEC Trust Inc. Directors, who are the Trustees of the entity whose day to day affairs is managed by an Executive Officer and Secretary.

In addition to her professional accolades which include serving as Saint Lucia’s Director of Public Prosecutions, and the first female to serve as Solicitor General – Justice d’Auvergne was in 2004 awarded the Saint Lucia Medal of Honour for her Outstanding Service in the Course of Justice in addition to the CMG (Companion of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George) in 2006.

May She Rest in Peace.

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3 Responses to A STAR Tribute to Madame Suzie D’Auvergne

  1. She served us exceptionally well. Thank God for her presence with us.

  2. CASSIUS B ELIAS. says:


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