Bvi And Entire Caribbean Bid Farewell To Titan Of The Legal Profession


On Saturday 26 April a huge cross section of the community gathered at the Road Town Methodist Church to say goodbye to Dr. Joseph Samuel Archibald, QC, renowned and well respected legal practitioner, husband, and friend.

In his tribute, St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, said Dr. Archibald was a profound thinker who never allowed himself to cheapened by shallow, pedestrian notions of success.

Attending the solemn funeral were His Excellency, Governor Boyd McCleary, Acting Premier, Dr. the Hon. Kedrick Pickering; Anguilla’s Chief Minister, the Hon. Hubert Hughes; President of the Caribbean Court of Justice, the Right Hon. Sir Dennis Byron, who delivered the eulogy; Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, Dame Janice Pereira; Appeal Court and High Court judges, lawyers from across the Caribbean including St. Kitts and Nevis, family members, the Clergy and hundreds of people from all walks of life.

In a GIS televised tribute BVI Premier, Dr. The Honourable D. Orlando Smith described Dr. Archibald as a BVI icon and one of the best legal minds in the Caribbean. Dr. Archibald was a role model and mentor of many BVI lawyers, Premier Smith said.

His Excellency, Governor Boyd McCleary noted that Dr. Archibald “was a figure of regional significance, whose contributions extended well beyond the shores of the BVI. He leaves behind a huge legacy and an enormous void.”

In a printed tribute, Opposition Leader, Hon. Ralph T. O’Neal said that Dr. Archibald “was concerned for the underprivileged and if a person did not have a defense he would take the case and fight for that person.”

The BVI legal luminary was also remembered in a printed tribute from the Board of Governors of the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College which he served for almost a quarter of a century as a member of the Board and as a legal counsel.

Dr. Archibald – who was born on the island of St Kitts and began his early days as a student at the St Kitts/Nevis Grammar School – was a man who was highly regarded for many things, but the repeat cry at his funeral was the Region’s loss of one of its best and brightest jurists.

Dr. Archibald did his legal studies in England, after which he was called to the Bar in 1960.

Mr. Archibald arrived in the British Virgin Islands on 19 August 1964, on secondment from the Government of St Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla. Here he met and fell in love with his wife Inez Archibald the very next day. The couple married at the Road Town Methodist Church in August 1965.

The union produced three daughters, and over the years the couple lived in three different countries.

Dr. Archibald, QC, was the Senior Partner of the firm of J.S. Archibald & Co., which is  one of the oldest and most prestigious law firms in Territory of the British Virgin Islands. In his career he has served in various legal capacities throughout the Caribbean including Magistrate, High Court Registrar, Senior Crown Counsel and Director of Public Prosecutions. He also served as Attorney General in St. Kitts‐Nevis‐Anguilla from 1960‐1964 and 1966‐1968.

In March 1991, Dr. Archibald was elected founding President of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Bar and was re‐elected in 1993. He served as President until 1996. In his capacity as President of the OECS Bar, Dr. Archibald helped in shaping the rules and guidelines for ethical practices and behaviour of barristers and solicitors who were admitted to practice at the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. Dr. Archibald also served as President of the BVI Bar Association from 1986‐1994. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1980.

Dr. Archibald was selected as Acting Judge of the Supreme Court of the West Indies assigned to Dominica in 1978 and Acting Judge of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court assigned to Saint Lucia in 1998. Dr. Archibald also served as an Acting Justice of Appeal from May to October 2001 and July 2002.

Outside of the courtroom Dr. Archibald served as Chairman of the Constitutional Committee of the 13th World Law Conference in Seoul, South Korea in 1987 and Moderator of its panel discussion entitled “The Bicentennial of the United States Constitution and its effects on the Constitutions of Asia”.

He delivered the inaugural Sir Archibald Nedd Memorial Lecture in Grenada, West Indies, on 26 July 26 1996 on “Essentials for a West Indies Supreme Court” to replace the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as the Final Appellate Court for Commonwealth Caribbean States and Territories. This lecture was published verbatim in the November/December 1996 12-paged issue of “The World Jurist” which is the bi-monthly bulletin of the Washington-based World Jurist Association of the World Peace Through Law Center publication in approximately 175 countries.

He was also inscribed on the Rule of Law Monument among 18 names of outstanding members of the World Jurist Association.

Dr. Archibald was one of the commissioners for appointing the Judges of the Caribbean Court of Justice as the Final Court in the CARICOM Region. He was recommended to replace Sir Lascelles Robotham as Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.

From 1990 to the present, the annual Joseph S. Archibald QC International Prize has been awarded for final year LL.B students at the University of the West Indies (UWI). The UWI bestowed on him the Degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa in October 2005. His donations and contributions, sponsor and financial support of various events and activities were numerous.

He is survived by his wife: Deputy Governor Mrs. Inez Archibald; his daughters: Patricia Archibald-Bowers, Faye Archibald-Williams, and Ava Archibald; grandchildren: Joseph and Giselle Archibald-Bowers, Kaitlin Archibald-Drew, Olivia Archibald-Walker, and Archibald Walker; brothers: Middleton, William and Raphael Archibald; sisters: Cynthia Hamilton, Rhoda Archibald, Theodora Manners, Gillian Edwards; father-in-law: Captain Evelyn Hodge; brothers-in-law: Darwin Sprauve, Wendell Manners; sisters-in-law: Annette Choucoutou, Dianna Harris-Bailey, and Ellenette Smith; plus many other relatives and friends too numerous to mention.

The publishers, management and staff of The Island Sun newspaper extend their deeply felt condolences to the bereaved.