The death of Mr. Deryck Bernard who returned from Trinidad and Tobago two weeks ago for the funeral of his mother came to me as a great shock. To his wife Myrna, children Ayanna and Denyse and to siblings who had just returned to their homes abroad, it was a cruel blow. May God in whom Deryck believed and served by way of good and selfless work to the people of this country give them the understanding and strength to cope with yet another personal tragedy.
Within the past years, Deryck, an avid seeker of truth and learning embarked on a course of study to become a lawyer. He was an outstanding student who was willing to challenge the status quo, questioning the administrators and lecturers about the failure to teach concepts such as Islamic, Feminist and Marxist Jurisprudence and challenging notions and practices to which the legal profession seems unshakably bound.
Within weeks of being at the Hugh Wooding Law School he soon earned the respect of the administration and his colleagues. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, Deryck was asked without prior notice to comment on the process of legislative enactment under the Westminster Model. I felt proud at the eloquence and clarity of his account which was met by spontaneous applause from the entire class.
He was also a modest individual, a great raconteur and great company. He was quietly but passionately patriotic and was already planning the annual Guyana Night to be the best show ever put on at Hugh Wooding Law School.
I will miss him, the exchange of visits, the exchange of notes and ideas, his generosity and the regular conversations he, Donald Rodney and I shared over inexpensive meals appropriate to students.
As Deryck put it, our age would not allow us the luxury of learning on the job but required that we hit the ground running. Deryck did not live to see that dream or to write several more books or short stories.
His death is a huge loss to our country. The students at Hugh Wooding Law School will miss him.