MEDIA RELEASE: THE JUDICIARY MOURNS THE PASSING OF WENDELL KANGALOO, JA
It is with the greatest sadness that the Judiciary confirms the passing of Justice of Appeal, Mr Justice Wendell Kangaloo, at the St Clair Medical Centre in Port of Spain, early this morning. His family advised us of his peaceful passing which occurred at 1.40 a.m. He had been in the Intensive Care Unit of that medical institution for the past several days having been warded for treatment of complications related to the very severe injuries he sustained in a vehicular accident in May last year.
In an immediate reaction, the Honourable the Chief Justice, Mr Justice Ivor Archie said, “It is the news we hoped would never come, but we have had to accept the reality of the great odds Wendell faced given the gravity of the injuries he sustained in that horrific accident a last year.”
“Now that the inevitable has befallen, we join the Kangaloo family in their sorrow, assure them of our support, and pray that they will be inspired by the strength and courage with which Wendell confronted his challenges. We hope that this would also assist in the very quick healing we wish them,” the Chief Justice said.
Mr Justice Archie said that the Kangaloo family have also asked the Judiciary to extend their sincerest thanks and appreciation to all who have been calling and praying and commiserating with them since the tragic event of May last year. He said the institution gladly does so while at the same time expressing its own thanks to the many citizens who have been rallying with
the Judiciary in those difficult moments.
The Chief Justice said that the Judiciary was consoled somewhat by the fact that Justice Kangaloo was able to come to a gathering of Judges and members of the Department of Court Administration at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre in April this year where they were able to interact personally with him and also to assure him of their continued prayers for his recovery and their desire to see him back at the Hall of Justice.
“To me personally and all his colleagues on the bench, as well as the Administrative staff of the Judiciary, Wendell was more than a colleague,” he added. “He was wise counsel, a true friend, a good teacher and an extraordinary person whose sense of humor endeared him to all.”
The Chief Justice continued: “As a judge he was incisive, detailed, objective, fair and fearless. He was passionate about the law, eschewed poor governance at any level and embraced fully the Judiciary’s efforts at transforming itself into a high performing professional organisation. Bolstered by his long and varied experience both at the bench and the bar, in addition to his intellect and commitment, his contribution in the transformation process has been invaluable and will be truly missed, and his absence generally creates a void not easily replenished.”
“The country and the rule of law have lost a brilliant protagonist and we join in saluting his legacy and the grief over his passing, celebrating his life also,” Justice Archie said.
Justice Kangaloo was admitted to the bar in October 1984 and appointed a Puisne Judge of the High Court on February 1, 1996 at the age of 39, one of the youngest persons to assume that office. He was elevated to the Court of Appeal on December 11, 2001 and at the time of his passing was the most Senior among the complement of Judges. He has acted as Chief Justice on numerous occasions and was in that position when his unfortunate accident occurred.
Justice Kangaloo attended the University of Toronto where he read for and obtained a BA (Hons) in Economics in 1979. He graduated from the University of the West Indies in 1982 with an LL.B (First Class Hons) following which he pursued his professional training at the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad. He was the first Chairman of the Trinidad and Tobago Judicial Education Institute and a fellow of the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute.
The Judiciary will be making condolence books available for public signing at the Hall of Justice on Knox Street, Port of Spain and at the Supreme Court San Fernando and at the Hall of Justice Scarborough Tobago another announcement will be made to advise on these arrangements.
Jones P. Madeira
Court Protocol and Information Manager