By TAVIA AUMOITHE
BAHAMIAN Valdere Murphy was part of a University of the West Indies pair who made it to the finals of the prestigious 20th Washington College of Law Inter-American Court of Human Rights Moot Court competition in Washington, DC, earlier this year.
Mooting is the art of arguing Law before a panel of up to seven judges, presenting factual or real-life cases and answering questions which are similarly acted out in the Court of Appeal. 100 teams from around the world took part in the competition, in which the UWI team finished third and Mr Murphy and his partner, Kael London from Dominica, placed among the top 25 individuals out of the field of 200.
Mr Murphy, 20, is about to start his third year as a law student at UWI’s Cave Hill Campus in Barbados and is a graduate of the College of the Bahamas, where he obtained an Associates degree in Law and Criminal Justice. He knew he wanted to be a humanitarian from a young age.
“Law and order spiked my interest but what I’ve realised is, law isn’t anything like the television show,” he told The Tribune. “I believe in advocating for the rights of others, human rights; those that don’t have voices due to financial crisis or lack of education.
“Mooting is an amazing experience. It has opened my eyes to see much more than the Bahamas but viewing the world as a bigger place. It taught me not to be naïve but embrace everyone by being each other’s keepers.”
This year, the competition dealt with transitional justice, where Mr Murphy and Mr London, guided by one of the best mooting coaches, Westmin R A James from the UWI Faculty of Law, had to appear in the notoriously difficult position for the State.
Mr Murphy is a member of Mount Tabor church and exemplifies humanitarianism by assisting with soccer and tutoring the youth at UWI. “I believe in giving back and when each and every opportunity presents itself, I do so,” he said. “The most important lesson I live by is ‘it’s not where you start, but where you finish’.”
People struggling with financial issues and lack of education do not discourage Mr Murphy from being the life-changer that he strives to be. “Through God, all things are possible and I try my best to pour out the positives which were poured into me.”