ATTORNEY Keith O Major Jr has become the latest of many Bahamians over the years to be admitted to the Jamaica Bar at a presentation in Kingston yesterday.
Mr Major’s application for admission to the Jamaica Bar was presented before Mr Justice Courtney Daye by the Hon B St Michael Hylton. Mr Hylton, QC, served as Jamaica’s Solicitor General between 2001 to 2007 and is married to Bahamian attorney, Keva Hylton (nee Major), who served as the Bahamas’ former Honorary Consul in Jamaica. Mr Major is the nephew of the Hyltons.
Shortly after Mr Major’s call to the Jamaica Bar, the Chief Justice Zaila McCalla congratulated the newly admitted lawyer during a brief courtesy call in her chambers.
The practice of Bahamians being called to the Jamaica Bar is not novel. However, it has in recent times become largely infrequent due to the establishment of the Bahamas’ Eugene Dupuch Law School (EDLS), which qualifies holders of a LL.B. or Juris Doctor degree for practice in The Bahamas. The admissions of other Bahamians also called to both bars, for the most part, predate EDLS and represent a time when scores of Bahamians qualified for admission to the Bahamas Bar by way of the Norman Manley Law School (NMLS) in Kingston.
Aside from his marriage to a Bahamian, Mr Hylton is no stranger to The Bahamas, as he has been afforded special admission to the Bahamas Bar to conduct several matters. However, The Bahamas, unlike Jamaica, reserves general admission to its legal bar for its citizens only.
Mr Major’s recent admission brings to the fore matters such as the lack of reciprocity between the legal bars of the two nations. This remains a part of discussions between the sister countries that enjoy and maintain friendly relations and is a part of the larger debate between Bahamian attorneys as to whether it is time for an open Bar.
Mr Major was admitted to practice in The Bahamas on October 30, 2014, before Chief Justice Sir Michael Barnett, his petition for admission presented by Janet G Bostwick, the former Attorney General.