Jamaican-born retired judge awarded OBE

Monday, January 02, 2017

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HAMILTON, Bermuda (CMC) — Retired Jamaican-born puisne Judge Norma Wade-Miller heads the list of 11 Bermuda residents who have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours List, it was officially announced here.

Once married to a former Bermuda opposition leader, Wade-Miller was appointed Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her decades of service to the island’s legal community and the judiciary.

The judge, who retired earlier this year, was not only the first female Supreme Court justice in Bermuda, but also the first woman to be appointed as a permanent magistrate on the island and the first female acting chief justice.

She served as a puisne judge for 25 years after periods as a magistrate and as the registrar of the Supreme Court.

She is also one of the founders of Project 100 — the leading charity in Bermuda promoting mental health awareness and raising funds to combat mental disabilities — and set up Spelldown Bermuda, a programme designed to promote spelling in schools based on a programme operating in Jamaica.

At a ceremony in May marking her retirement, Chief Justice Ian Kawaley called Wade-Miller "the complete judge" and "an outstanding role model" for her total of 35 years’ service since arriving on the island from her native Jamaica.

Wade-Miller was the second wife of Frederick Wade, who was opposition leader for 11 years under the Progressive Labour Party (PLP). The couple later divorced.

Wade died at the age of 57, two years before the PLP ousted the now-defunct United Bermuda Party from power in 1998.

The PLP named Bermuda’s international airport after him.

Ten other local figures recognised for their contributions through the Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honour included the Right Reverend Ewen Ratteray, the first Bermudian to be appointed Anglican bishop of Bermuda, who was honoured for his service to the church as well as to the wider community.

While Bishop Ratteray has since retired, he still dedicates his time and energy to the church, providing mentoring and counselling services for those in need.

Larry Ebbin was also recognised for his services to the community, specifically for his work promoting and organising chess on the island and off, taking the Bermuda chess team to The Philippines, Armenia, Turkey, Russia, Spain, Norway, Germany and Italy.

He is still continuing that work and is now preparing to send a team of eight youngsters between the ages of five and 15, to the 2017 CARIFTA Chess Championships in April.

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