The Rt. Hon. Sir Vincent Floissac
Born: 31st July, 1928
Died: 25th September, 2010
Sir Vincent Floissac: A Floissac Come to Judgement
His whole life seemed to be a preparation for excellence. A reach for nirvana. His white football shorts remained clean on muddy days as he avoided all physical contact in his thrust for goal. He was a dapper inside forward, economical and purposeful, doing just enough to get the ball in the goal. He studied hard and kept up his prowess in tennis and football.
Vincent Floissac began his peculiar odyssey in excellence at St. Mary’s College in Saint Lucia where he concertina-ed the normal five year program of study leading to the Senior Cambridge Exams into a three-year sprint and won the open Island Scholarship in 1948. He then enrolled at Gray’s Inn, Inns of Court School of Law and London University’s Institute of Advanced Studies, completing his Bachelor of Laws degree in 1951, his bar finals in 1952 and his Master of Laws in 1953. He distinguished himself at the Saint Lucian Bar during 37 years of dedicated and unstinting service. He won acclaim for his careful, scrupulous approach to his work and for the intellectual curiosity which informed his capacity for research.
During this period in time he matched a full professional life with a wide spectrum of public service appointments. He was Honorary President of the Saint Lucia Football Association and Director of the Saint Lucia Co-operative Bank for the better part of three decades and Honorary Chairman of the Saint Lucia Water Authority. In the same period of time he was President of the Bar Association and a Director of the Saint Lucia Red Cross and later took on the Chairmanship of the National Insurance Board and the Chairmanship of St. Mary’s College Centenary Celebrations. His obvious skills in arbitration and compromise slotted well into his appointment as the first President of the Senate of Saint Lucia and Deputy Speaker of the Saint Lucia House of Assembly.
He reach for excellence was not confined to academic pursuits and public service alone. In the field of sport the young Vincent Floissac was Saint Lucia’s Table Tennis Champion in 1943 and represented the island in lawn tennis for almost a decade. National recognition for these achievements started in 1969 when he was appointed as Queen’s Counsel followed by the award of the Order of the British Empire in 1973 and the Commander of the most distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. Geroge (CMG) in 1985. He became a member of the Seychelles Courts Appeal in 1988, but the real accolade of service came with his appointment as Chief Justice and President of the Court of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in 1991.
Following this accumulation of regional honors, international recognition was swift. He bagged a triad of distinctions in 1992, being appointed to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, an Honorary Bencher of Gray’s Inn and the long stretch of awards and honors took himself and his wife, Marilyn, to Buckingham Palace where he received the Knight Bachelorhood. Sir Vincent and Lady Floissac have served in their different fields of endeavor, she in dietetics and education and he in law and public service and together they have maintained a partnership which symbolizes the search for excellence and the preservation of traditional values.
The Chief Justice’s robes sit easily on Sir Vincent Floissac since he has held the scales throughout his legal career, ransacking the law for precedents, drawing fine distinctions in jurisprudence and often giving quivering advice finely balanced to both in legal dispute. He has a mortal terror of injustice and unfairness and in his deliberations he was always considered too cautious to be unfair. He went the extra mile in preparation and diligence to ensure that his every action and decision was clothed in legality. His scholarly approach to the law has resulted in his chambers becoming a sanctuary for many a bewildered junior and a source of light and inspiration for many a Senior Counsel trying to unravel the intricacies of the law.
Saint Lucians feel proud and elated that a Floissac has come to Judgement!
Source: US World Journal – St. Lucia Magazine, July 1995 Vol 20 #7 page 32 Available: Hunter J Francois Library, Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, Morne Fortune, Castries, Saint Lucia, Vertical Files: Biographies – St. Lucia #85