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Oct 27, 2017

Gavin Courtenay, Son of Eamon, Called to the Bar

Four young men and one woman were called to the Bar of Belize this morning at the Supreme Court. It was a grand occasion, featuring the return of Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Justice and prominent Belizean attorney Godfrey Smith, who sat alongside his colleagues from Belize’s Supreme Court, Justices Michelle Arana and Courtney Abel. We will introduce you to two of the newly minted attorneys later on. But first, the Courtenay name is entrenched in the annals of Belizean history as greatest contributors to the legal profession and public service. Starting with the late W.H. Courtenay, there have been three generations of lawyers in the family, coming down to Senior Counsel and Senator Eamon Courtenay. His son, Gavin, concluded his legal studies this year and promises, as he told News Five’s Aaron Humes, to both uphold and expand on the family legacy.


Aaron Humes, Reporting

Gavin Harrison Courtenay is under no illusions about what he has to live up to now that he has joined the legal fraternity of Belize. But he says he chose this path on his own.


Gavin Courtenay

Gavin Courtenay, Called to the Bar

“I had always had something of an interest in law, obviously because of my family background, there was always a bit of an influence. But I would never say anybody ever compelled me. It wasn’t until I really began to study law that I began to fall in love with it, as they say, because I found it interesting – all you could do, all you could learn and really, how you could help people.”


From a legal perspective, the younger Courtenay is both a man of his time and imbued with the sense of public spirit which runs through his family.


Gavin Courtenay

“My greatest interest right now are one, I like the emerging areas of law, such as those related to Internet technology. That sort of thing isn’t very developed here and I am interested in getting in on the ground floor and improving it. But I am also interested in some social aspects, for instance working with people who don’t have access to legal representation, who maybe they can’t afford it. Also I was involved in a project where I was working with some prisoners on remand for many, many years, and they’re seeking justice. And like the expression goes, it’s almost as if society has forgotten them, so I would like to help society as well.”


The Courtenay family – late great-grandfather Woolrich Harrison and great-uncle Derek, both Senior Counsels; late grandfather Vernon Harrison, parents Eamon and Denise – are an unbroken line of both legal and public service. Gavin told us he looks forward to both upholding and expanding that legacy.


Gavin Courtenay

“I definitely do want to build on it. In terms of pressure, I think it was really clear to me the sort of standard I had to live up to, when I just made my application to be admitted to practice, and I saw the roll of attorneys. And on the roll I saw my great-grandfather, and right next to him was his attorney number and it was number one. So I said, well, seems like that’s what we have to live up to.”


Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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