Honoree Selection Criteria
List of Honorees:
Alleyne, Justice Sir Brian
Bowers, Bishop Joseph
Charles, PM Eugenia
Felix, Archbishop Kelvin
Georges, Justice Telford
Green-Wills, Dr. Dorothy
Imray, Dr. John
LeBlanc, Premier Edward
Loblack, Honorable E. C.
Philip, Commissioner Oliver
Potter, Reverend Dr. Philip
Rawle, Honorable Cecil
Riviere, Raglan Eugene
Shillingford, Agatha Allport
Shillingford, Albert Cavendish
Shillingford, Dr. Clayton
Shillingford, Hon. Howell
Sorhaindo, Dr. Bernard
RT. HON. CHIEF JUSTICE PHILIP TELFORD GEORGES, OCC, DAH (January 5, 1923 – January 13, 2005)
“One of the leading jurists of our time, ... Justice Telford Georges was the embodiment of what a fine judge should be – a compassionate soul, brilliant mind, keenly attuned to and involved with the issues of everyday life.” Chief Justice Anthony Smellie of the Cayman Islands, February 1, 2005.
Philip Telford Georges was born in Roseau, Dominica on January 5, 1923, the son of Milutine Cox and John Henry Duport Georges. He attended the Roseau Boys School where his father was the headmaster and won a scholarship to the Dominica Grammar School at age 9. At the Grammar School, the young Telford came under the influence of Mr. N. K. Jeffers who stimulated his interest in English and History, which were to remain his lifelong passions. Outside of school he roamed the Botanical Gardens and the Morne as young boys are wont to do even today.
Telford was both a brilliant scholar and hardworking student, and won the Dominica Island Scholarship in 1940. He proceeded to Mc Gill University, Canada in 1942 to read English and History, but after a year he switched to law at the University of Toronto. He was an active member of his college community. He represented the University at inter-varsity debates, was President of the Law Society and an active member of the Historical society, as well as Speaker of his college mock Parliament. And then he proceeded to graduate with First Class Honors and at the top of his class, for which he was awarded the Gold Medal and an inscription on a plaque at the University.
After graduation in 1947, Telford was called to the Trinidad bar. As a public defender, his erudition and integrity, and his high regard for the law, earned him the esteem and respect of his colleagues. His outstanding legal talent and concern for justice and fairness were now widely recognized and he was invited in 1962, at the relatively young age of 39, to be a judge on the Trinidad Bench. There he also earned the high regard of the attorneys as well as the litigants who appeared before him.
Over his long and brilliant career, Justice Georges served with distinction in various capacities in the Caribbean, Africa and Latin America. Among these were Chief Justice of Tanzania, Zimbabwe and the Bahamas, professor of Law at the University of the West Indies, member of Her Majesty’s Privy Council, member of the Courts of Appeal of Belize, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Grenada and the Seychelles. He was a member of the International Commission of Jurists, President of the Administrative Tribunal of the Inter American Development Bank, and member of the Juridical Committee of the OAS. He was a member of the Commonwealth Team of Distinguished Observers at the Convention for a Democratic South Africa. Nearer home, Justice Georges was variously member of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission of the OECS, Vice Chairman of the Constitution Reform Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, Chairman of the Regional Constituent Assembly of the Windward Islands and Chairman of the Constitution Reform Commission of Dominica.
Chief Justice Georges’ outstanding contribution to the Caribbean and internationally was recognized with honorary doctorates from several Universities, including Toronto, Tanzania, and the West Indies. He also received the Order of the Caribbean Community (OCC) and the Dominica Award of Honor (DAH), the highest Dominican award. As a committed West Indian he prized these last two honors above all.
Although he did not return home after graduation, Telford was happiest working in the Caribbean among his people. He loved Dominica dearly and was always thankful that he was nurtured there. After living in numerous countries, he once noted, “It would be difficult to conceive of a more pleasant place in which to grow up.”
While Chief Justice Georges was blessed with a formidable intellect, he had a genuinely unassuming manner. He had a ready smile and always had time for others, lending assistance or giving the benefit of his vast experience wherever he could. He liked simple pleasures such as walking, hiking and swimming; but above all, he was an avid reader who enjoyed books and discussing current events. Chief Justice Georges was first married to Grace Glasgow of St. Lucia. They had four children – Cicely, Jo-Anne, John and Ian. He later married Joyce Cole of Trinidad.
On the death of Justice Georges, Attorney General Alfred Sears of the Bahamas paid his respects as follows, “[Justice Georges’] judgments through his judicial career in the high courts, as an appellate judge and as a Privy Councilor, were always lucidly written, combining wit, common sense and a deep appreciation for the common law. He will long be remembered and appreciated for the enormous contributions to the jurisprudence of The Bahamas, the Caribbean, the Commonwealth and Africa.” January 24, 2005.
For his enormous contribution to jurisprudence internationally, his outstanding service to the Caribbean, and for his compassion on and off the Bench, DAAS honors the Rt. Hon. Chief Justice Philip Telford Georges.
Joyce Cole Georges
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