On Tuesday February 16, 2021, Petty Officer in the SVG Coast Service, Junior Baptiste was admitted to practice as a Barrister and Solicitor in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Circuit; before High Court Judge, the Honourable, Justice Nicole Byer, virtually.
Baptiste is the first Coast Guard Officer and the fourth member of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) to attain that feat; following in the footsteps of Former Deputy Commissioner of Police, His Worship, Magistrate Bertie Pompey, Commissioner of Police, Mr. Colin John and Assistant Superintendent of Police, Mr. John Ballah.
Baptiste has served over twenty-five (25) years and counting as a law enforcement officer. His call to bar was moved by Commissioner of Police, Mr. Colin John, and seconded by Barrister, Mr. Carl Williams.
With a look of jubilance and determination on his face, Baptiste recalled that his journey to become a lawyer began in 2010 when he enrolled in classes at the SVG Community College. Two (2) year later, he graduated with an Associated Degree in Paralegal Studies. According to Baptiste, in 2014, he entered the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus to pursue his law degree and successfully graduated in 2017. Then one year later, he entered the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago to pursue his legal Education certificate (LEC) and graduated in 2020.
Baptiste humbly asserted “My journey over the past ten years was rough and challenging. However, I endured to the end with the support of my friends and family. I am proud to be the first serving Coast Guard officer to be call to the bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. I am honored to be among Mr. Colin John and Mr. John Ballah, attorneys who are currently serving in the police force.”
In addition, Baptiste who hails from “Over the Dry River” proudly embraced his heritage. He said “I am so proud to be from Owia, Over the River. I dedicate my achievements to my deceased grandparents Edna Baptiste and Cecil "Banker" Nanton of Owia. May their souls rest in peace. I wish they were here to see my success.”
According to Petty Officer Baptiste, many persons were instrumental in assisting him in achieving his goals. He thanked his friends and family for their support throughout his journey. He expressed thanks to the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and in particular – Prime Minister, Dr. Hon. Ralph Gonsalves.
He also thanked the Commissioner of Police for writing his recommendation for entry to Hugh Wooding Law School and for moving his call to the bar; Carl Williams for seconding his call to the bar; Commander Brenton Cain and his colleagues at the SVG Coast Guard. But above everyone else, Baptiste thanked God for guiding him throughout his journey. He pledged to continue to serve the people of SVG.
The Commissioner of Police, Commander of the SVG Coast Guard and members of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force extend congratulations to the Petty Officer Baptiste on his high achievement.