Within the Law, Memoirs of a Caribbean Jurist offers more than a snapshot of life and illustrious legal career of former chief justice Michael de la Bastide.
The autobiography, which will be launched on December 8, maps de la Bastide’s childhood memories, sporting achievements, his climb to success as a barrister, judge and passion to continue serving as a humanitarian since he retired as president of the Caribbean Court of Justice in 2011.
In its foreword, retired media pioneer Ken Gordon said de la Bastide’s book was “written” with failing vision and hearing.
“What has evidently grown stronger is his indomitable will to contribute: done so admirably through sharing his diverse experiences through this memoir.”
Gordon said the book encapsulates the life story of de la Bastide, whom he described as “one of the more distinguished jurists to have practised in the Caribbean.” He said de la Bastide’s impact on the judiciary was significant and he earned admiration that went beyond the courts, particularly his defiant stance to protect the independence of the Judiciary, which was under threat from politicians.
“His is a story of academic brilliance, unrelenting pursuit of excellence and courage, much of which I have had the opportunity to witness first-hand, both through his public persona and a longstanding personal friendship,” Gordon said.
In a review of the 316-page book commissioned by the Children’s Ark, an NGO run by de la Bastide’s wife Simone, David Cave, an adjunct lecturer at UWI’s Department of Creative and Festival Arts, says it reveals “the hidden human dimension to the attainment and process of de la Bastide’s legal career.”
Cave explained the book was “a collaborative effort, harnessing the efforts of not only de la Bastide, but also his wife, Simone, who dealt with the production…and Justice Kathy Ann Waterman-Latchoo, who did most of the research and editing.”
“Ultimately, this work provides a wealth of information and legal excellence. However, the reader will also conclude that even though he has retired and slipped out of the limelight, we still have a lot to learn from Michael de la Bastide.”
According to Cave, the book gives an insight into de la Bastide’s family life, his deep relationship with his mother, the matriarch of the family, and the impact of the untimely passing of his father.
“We see moments of playfulness and light-heartedness, even during tense times such as the Black Power Revolution.”
It also offers details of his accomplishments as an accomplished athlete in football, lawn tennis, hockey and as a contract bridge player.
De la Bastide has dedicated all the profits from Within the Law to the Children’s Ark to help support ongoing and future projects focused on assisting the most vulnerable in society.