Proud inner-city woman called to the Bar

February 07, 2023
Newly minted attorney-at-law Quidi-Ann King.
Quidi-Ann (centre) with relatives (from left) niece Malika Lawrence, brother Adrian King, mother Vanetta Forbes and sister Janice King.

For some, Bertram Lane, off Maxfield Avenue in St Andrew, could be considered a hotbed for criminal activities.

But Quidi-Ann King credits this tough, inner-city community for grooming her success. So much so that on January 19 when she was called to the Bar, she did not hesitate to do a momentous photo shoot there.

“I had the idea to go back to Bertram Lane from the very get-go of completing law school, because, to me, I thought that was grassroot. These were the zinc fences that surrounded me during the worst times, these were the people who surrounded me. It was through this gate that I stepped out and in every day, and now that I have had this dream from I was seven, I have actualised it to go back there and take the photo; it is significant,” the minted attorney-at-law declared.

Bertram Lane, otherwise known as Spades Corner, happened to be where the 26-year-old witnessed two shootings near her family home. In the first incident, when she was six, her mother was shot outside their family home. King told THE STAR in a previous interview that her mother could have been crippled.

Thirteen years later, during her second year of sixth form at St Andrew Technical High School, a bullet entered her bedroom where she and her niece and nephew were sleeping. The shot grazed her nephew. A bullet hole in her dresser served as motivation to succeed. Since then, King has got rid of the dresser, but the memories are still fresh, with the bullet holes still in the wall.

“This is where I started, this is where I came from and I am never embarrassed of that. If anything, I am proud to have fought my way up,” she said.

Her law school journey was no easy feat, as she sought to balance her time as a student as well as a full-time lecturer at Pre-University School, on Taylor Hall at The University of the West Indies, Mona campus. But despite the demands, King remained committed to the task.

Her call to the Bar proved to be an emotional yet fulfilling day, as she was moved to tears even as her mother, Vanetta Forbes, witnessed her success. She recalled that she was extremely nervous, even as she arrived at the offices of Ian Wilkinson K.C., who called her to the Bar.

“My mother has always been at the forefront of my motivation and where I came from. When I graduated with my bachelor’s of law [degree in 2020], she said it was the best day of her life, and then she was in the office to watch me get called, to watch me repeat the oath. When I looked at her, I could see it in her eyes, the moment, how surreal it felt for her as it did for me,” King said.

As the first of her mother’s six children to achieve tertiary education, the entire family is elated with her recent accomplishment. King is using her success and lessons learnt from her mentor Georgia Crawford to encourage others to dream big.

“Her [Crawford’s] word of encouragement is ‘do’, don’t sit and wait and think about it, and so I became a doer. My word of encouragement is always ‘to do’, and it is always to never, ever, ever think that your dreams are too big and that they are unattainable. People don’t remember your story until you, so win,” she stressed.

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