The OECS Bar Association mourns the recent passing of Dr. Joseph S. Archibald Q.C., our founding President (1991-1996), a former President of the British Virgin Islands Bar Association (1986-1994) and a virtual pillar of our sub-regional umbrella Bar since it was conceived approximately twenty-five (25) years ago.
Dr. Archibald, affectionately called “Archie” by his colleagues, has had a long and illustrious career at the Bar, spanning well over fifty (50) years. In fact, this year he would have celebrated fifty-four (54) distinguished years at the Bar, since his first admission to Lincoln's Inn in July 1960.
Versatile and multitalented, Dr. Archibald served the legal profession in many capacities including Magistrate, High Court Registrar, Director of Public Prosecutions, Attorney General, High Court Judge and Justice of Appeal (Ag). More recently, he served on the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) for two (2) consecutive terms, ending in August 2013.
Dr. Archibald was a fearless and formidable advocate, intellectually sharp and highly persuasive. He was a legal giant, captured in a small but imposing and well maintained physique which he was able to effectively use equally well in the court room and on the dance floor.
Dr. Archibald has been a true and consistent combatant for the OECS Bar, dutifully promoting and defending better terms and conditions for judicial officers, the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law. He holds the rare distinction of being the most active of the longstanding members of the OECS Bar, never ‘missing a beat’ from the inaugural meeting in 1989 right to up to his untimely and unexpected passing on April 3rd 2014 – twenty-five (25) memorable years of dedicated and unbroken service to the OECS Bar Association.
Dr. Archibald commanded the floor at many of our quarterly Bar Council meetings and other OECS Bar activities with timely and incisive analyses, and rich and creative ideas. He was a progressive thinker, with a practical and results-oriented approach. Whenever he was unable to attend our quarterly Bar Council meetings, he made it his duty to send apologies, like he did when we last met in Antigua on March 7th 2014.
Dr. Archibald was the single most significant contributor, on an annual basis, to the OECS Bar Association’s Benevolent Fund, which was set up several years ago to assist constituent Bars, Attorneys or deserving needy cases in times of disaster or other challenges. Grenada was a beneficiary of the Benevolent Fund in 2004 shortly after the devastation of Hurricane Ivan with the OECS Bar sending in much-needed water and vital food supplies.
Truly, Dr. Archibald did not just ‘talk the talk’, but he also ‘walked the walk'.
We shall forever cherish his many and varied contributions to the OECS Bar. In September 2013, on Scrub Island in the BVI, he received a special award for his long and distinguished service to the OECS Bar. The award was presented at a gala dinner which was part of a memorable weekend of activities embracing our Annual Law Fair and quarterly Bar Council Meeting.
Though advanced in age, ‘Archie’ consistently exhibited youthful energy and enthusiasm. He was the ‘life of the party’, always capturing the attention of his audience – whatever the age group – as he recalled varied events and characters of the past from his rich and seemingly endless arsenal of stories, with just the right intonation and touch of drama. Quick-witted and with a tremendous and tasteful sense of humour, Archie was an excellent storyteller.
The OECS Bar has lost a selfless friend, reliable brother and lifelong colleague. We shall miss his incisive contributions, imposing presence, sharp wit, captivating storytelling, colourful humour and genuine humanity. We extend heartfelt condolences to his dear wife and children who no doubt will be forever comforted by the countless rich memories left behind by this outstanding citizen of the OECS.
‘Archie’ has left his indelible mark and holds a cherished place in the history of the OECS Bar Association.
May he rest in peace!