Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. The Caribbean Court of Justice and the CCJ Academy for Law are saddened to learn of the passing of Alix Boyd Knights, the former Speaker of the Dominican Parliament. Boyd Knights reportedly died at her home in Trafalgar, Dominica on Tuesday, 29 August 2023.
Boyd Knights was the longest-serving speaker in Dominica’s history having performed the role from 2000 to 2020 and was designated as Speaker Emerita in February 2020.
This signal honour was bedecked by a lifetime of firsts. She was the first student to complete first year of law studies in a non-campus territory of The University of the West Indies (UWI). While she attended The UWI, Cave Hill, her daughters were at Cave Hill and St Augustine campuses pursuing their tertiary education as well. After the passing of her mother, she took her eight-year-old daughter with her to Barbados to continue her studies and thereafter, to the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago. In 2010, she was elected Chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians.
For her outstanding contribution to Caribbean law, Speaker Boyd Knights was recognised by the CCJ Academy for Law as a Pioneering Caribbean Woman Jurist in 2021. In composing her profile for this award, Dr Lennox Honychurch wrote:
“Quite apart from her illustrious career in law and Parliamentary affairs in Dominica and the wider Commonwealth for over 30 years, Boyd Knights has been sharing her love for culinary arts with people all over the world. She has used radio, television, Facebook, YouTube, as well as face-to-face sessions, to teach women to cook, preserve, and process food to generate income and to lift themselves from poverty.”
Speaker Boyd Knights repeatedly endorsed her gratitude to have been recognised as a Pioneering Jurist. In truth, her recognition was to the honour of the Academy.
Rest in peace, Speaker Alix Boyd Knights, Pioneering Caribbean Woman Jurist.
About the Caribbean Court of Justice
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) was inaugurated in Port of Spain, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on 16 April 2005 and presently has a Bench of seven judges presided over by CCJ President, the Honourable Mr Justice Adrian Saunders. The CCJ has an Original and an Appellate Jurisdiction and is effectively, therefore, two courts in one. In its Original Jurisdiction, it is an international court with exclusive jurisdiction to interpret and apply the rules set out in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC) and to decide disputes arising under it. The RTC established the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). In its Original Jurisdiction, the CCJ is critical to the CSME and all 12 Member States which belong to the CSME (including their citizens, businesses, and governments) can access the Court’s Original Jurisdiction to protect their rights under the RTC. In its Appellate Jurisdiction, the CCJ is the final court of appeal for criminal and civil matters for those countries in the Caribbean that alter their national Constitutions to enable the CCJ to perform that role. At present, four states access the Court in its Appellate Jurisdiction, these being Barbados, Belize, Dominica and Guyana. However, by signing and ratifying the Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice, Member States of the Community have demonstrated a commitment to making the CCJ their final court of appeal. The Court is the realisation of a vision of our ancestors, an expression of independence and a signal of the region’s coming of age.