By Steve Thomas
Observer Nevis Editor
(OECS) – A native of the Federation of St. Kitts- Nevis has been nominated by all of the Heads of Government of the nine-member states of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court to be the next Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. He is currently serving as acting Chief Justice until his nomination is formally approved by Queen Elizabeth II.
Chief Justice Hugh Rawlins was serving as Court of Appeal Judge with the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, a position he has held since 2005, when he was promoted on April 29. He takes over from outgoing Acting Chief Justice, Sir Brian Alleyne S.C. of Dominica, who retired on April 28.
“In St. Kitts and Nevis, as in the wider Caribbean, people appear to be quite proud of the appointment. I find this quite gratifying,” Chief Justice Rawlins said about reaction to his appointment.
The Chief Justice was born in January, 1950, in Gingerland on Nevis to Joseph and Veronica Rawlins. He was the third child of 4 children of his parents. His siblings are Ashley, Ullida and Franklyn Rawlins. He lived with his parents and attended public schools on Nevis and completed his education at the St. Kitts-Nevis Grammar School/Basseterre High School in St. Kitts, where he resided with a very close relative, Mrs. Cecilia Hazel.
His upbringing was important to his later success, Chief Justice Rawlins said.
“I was fortunate in two regards: first, I had a stable family environment. We were not financially prosperous, but on hindsight, that stable family environment was more than prosperity,” he said. “In the second place, I had a church upbringing. While I was on Nevis, my parents insisted that we attended church regularly. That shaped me as a person. It provided a set of moral values that were known and accepted by the whole community. It provided a beacon for the community to follow. . . Persons in the community looked out for and supported each other.”
It was the same in Basseterre.
“I completed my upbringing. Mother Hazel held my sister, Natalie Fough (nee Hazel) to the same values,” he said. “There were times when there was little money, or none. That was a blessing because it caused you to focus on other things and it permitted time to be a child.”
The Chief Justice, who is a parent, raised questions about the way in which the rearing of children has developed since his formative years.
“I do not think that my generation did enough to shape the lives of our children. We were so busy trying to build new lives,” he said. “We may not have spent enough time with our children. Would we ever again focus on a value system? Are we going to train our children or will we let them be guided by individuals with other agendas?”
And a thought on success:
“It is necessary for a person to find that area of endeavour that is of interest and work at it assiduously and success will usually follow. Even if it does not, you would have the satisfaction that you are doing the best with the gifts you are given.”
Before embarking on a legal career, the Chief Justice was an educator.
“I was a teacher of History, English literature and English,” he said. “I really enjoyed teaching, and, in particular, the production of plays from set books.”