I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former Chief Justice Satnarine Sharma, who served with distinction from 2002 to 2008.
Although he faced significant personal challenges during his term as Chief Justice, he met these challenges with dignity and resolve.
He was a legal luminary and an invaluable member of the local law fraternity.
Mr. Sharma dedicated many years of his life to enriching and progressively developing the judicial system of our twin-island Republic and changed the dimensions of the common law with his sound and analytical judgments.
Mr. Sharma’s life is inspirational and representative of the fruits of hard work and determination. As a graduate of Hillview College, he left Trinidad and Tobago in 1963 to study law in the United Kingdom. In 1966 he was called to the Bar of the Inner Temple Society, UK and one year later he was admitted to the local bar. On his return to Trinidad and Tobago, he first practiced in the Magistrates Court and later settled into civil practice.
His commitment to the rule of law and his stellar track record within the legal fraternity led to his appointment as Puisne Judge in 1984 and then to the Appeal Court in 1988.
If one specific aspect of his life and practice could be identified, it would be his passion for improving the way the judicial system works.
During his career he led some of the most dynamic and innovative reforms within our judicial system which remain in effect up to this very day. Some of these initiatives include the measures introduced during his term to reduce the backlog of magisterial appeals and to reduce the long lists of the magistrates.
Significantly, another achievement was the inauguration of the Family Court pilot project in 2004, a collaborative effort for a new approach to family matters between the Judiciary and the Executive. He also presided over the formal introduction of the Civil Proceedings Rules (1998) which ushered in a new way of managing the business in the Civil Courts.
As a recipient of the Chaconia Medal (Gold) in 1998 and the Trinity Cross in 2003 for his contribution to the development of the law, Mr. Sharma’s contributions to our nation, its citizens, as well as our judicial system, are invaluable.
We have indeed lost a giant of a man – a man of heart, integrity and vision, who positively impacted the lives of those around him in all tasks that he undertook.
On my behalf, and on behalf of the Opposition, I extend condolences to Mr. Sharma’s family, friends and colleagues.
May his soul rest in eternal peace.