It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of retired Industrial Court Judge Gladys Gafoor.
Justice Gafoor served with honour and integrity and should be remembered as such. One of her most important public contributions was her monumental, three-volume 2007 Report of the Commission of Enquiry into the Operations and Delivery of Public Health Care Services. Appointed in 2004, this took over two years to complete and consisted of around 1,500 pages.
That Report contained evidence of corruption or other malfeasance in the health sector, and then-Prime Minister Patrick Manning proposed to send a copy to the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Commissioner of Police and the Integrity Commission.
Justice Gafoor also stood up against political interference in the Integrity Commission, where she was Deputy Chairman.
She was clearly not afraid to go against the political grain, in order to uphold our independent institutions. Qualities like hers are badly needed in the public realm today, when so many voices in these institutions remain silent, for fear of victimisation.
In 2011, Justice Gafoor received the Public Service Medal of Merit (Gold) during my administration. Unfortunately, thereafter, she lost the award in a home invasion.
With heavy hearts, our nation acknowledges the profound loss of this trailblazer who dedicated her life to upholding the principles of justice and fairness in our beloved Trinidad and Tobago.
I extend my deepest condolences to Judge Gladys Gafoor’s family, friends, and the entire legal fraternity. We are grateful for her decades of service, her dedication to upholding the rights of all citizens, and her unwavering commitment to ensuring that justice was served impartially.
May we honour her memory by continuing to champion the values she held dear, by tirelessly working toward a society where justice prevails and where the rights of every individual are respected. May her legacy inspire us to remain vigilant in our pursuit of a just and equitable Trinidad and Tobago.
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, MP
Leader of the Opposition
27th August 2023