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.”