Categorized | National News

New Bar Office Opens Today

It’s been a long time coming, but the Bahamas Bar Association (BBA) finally has a permanent place to call home. It’s good news for more than 1,100 lawyers who depend on the association.

The new office is located on Mackey Street and Claire Road.

“For many years the Bar Association has been trying to find a permanent location,” BBA President, Ruth Bowe-Darville told The Bahama Journal yesterday.

“Prior to our coming here, most past presidents of the BBA had the offices in their own legal offices. There came a time when we really needed to have our own premises and we moved from Keith Duncombe’s office to E. Dorsett’s office who offered us a space on Parliament Street, but that was mainly for the purposes of us starting a legal aid facility. We moved from there to the Out Island Traders Building at one point. Then we were in the Bay Parl building.”

From there, the association had to move again to the Green Shutters restaurant.

“We went to Green Shutters with the intention that we would purchase that; that was under Dr. Peter Maynard and he tried very hard to get the Bar to support the purchase,” Mrs. Bowe-Darville said.

“Since then we moved to Elizabeth Avenue where we stayed for a number of years where we rented from Elliot Lockhart but we never lost sight of the fact that the Bar needed a permanent facility. Successive presidents and other members like Stephanie Unwala were always out and about looking for a building. Three years ago it came to our attention that this facility was available for sale and with the help of McKinney, Bancroft and Hughes we were able to acquire the property in late 2011.”

The BBA president said the building proved to be “quite a financial saving.”

“We have approximately one acre with two buildings. The main building is a three-storey complex with the Bar administrative offices, its council rooms and a large conference facility on the top floor. The first seminar that we were able to have was in late January and we were able to have over 175 lawyers for a seminar on the new draft Supreme Court rules,” she said.

“We also have a very large library with books donated to us and some purchased by us and it will also contain a computer centre. It has been used in recent months for meetings of smaller committees of the Bar but I found in the last five to six months that our members are using it a lot and we are very grateful for that because we want our members to stake a claim in this building, after all it is being paid for by members’ dues.”

The compound also has a restaurant, which will be called “Ma Lords” and will be operated by Chef Christopher Chea.

“It is intended to be a members club but it will have some public facilities,” Mrs. Bowe-Darville said.

“One of the best things about this property has adequate parking though.”

She thanked contractor Paul Cartwright as well as Bar administrator Paulette Delancy and industry partners, Teachers and Salaried Workers Cooperative Credit Union Bank, Royal Bank of Canada (main branch) and Star General Insurance.

“We intend, at that ceremony, to make presentations to the past presidents of the associations and the cornerstone plaque for the building will be done by two of the oldest members of the Bar – Peter Christie and Godfrey K. Kelly,” the BBA president said.

“We are also going to dedicate one room to the memory of Sir Kendal G.L. Isaacs, who was the first president of the Bahamas Bar Association. He actually lived in the room that will be dedicated to him when he was solicitor general of The Bahamas and that plaque will be unveiled by Sir Orville Turnquest.”
The official opening is scheduled for today at 5:00 p.m.
Prime Minister Perry Christie is expected to bring the official opening remarks.
Attorney General Allyson-Maynard-Gibson as well as Chief Justice Sir Michael Barnett are also expected to attend.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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