First Female Lawyer

Ena Luckhoo

In the matters of truth, law and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, nor is there a difference between men and women, for the law does not discriminate between genders, and neither did Ena Luckhoo. She proved this by becoming the first female lawyer of Indian descent in Guyana.

Evelyn Ada Luckhoo, commonly referred to as Ena, was born in New Amsterdam, Berbice on 17th August 1923. She was the youngest of six children to father Edward Alfred Luckhoo, O.B.E. Solicitor and mother Evelyn Maude Luckhoo. Being the youngest in a large family with siblings Irene, Edward, Lionel, and Lloyd made her completely spoilt, especially by her three older brothers, who were also very protective.

She was a student of Ursuline Convent and Berbice Girls’ High School in New Amsterdam until 1931, after which she attended Bishops’ High School, Georgetown, where she completed her secondary education. She was not only successful, but passed with honours at both the Junior and Senior Cambridge Examinations.

Even though she was brought up in a prominent legal family, the decision to become a lawyer was not made directly after High School but after deliberating for a few years. Only after witnessing many battles and listening to daily discussions of legal points amongst her brothers, which she found very interesting, did she decide to take up law as her profession. She was articled to Lloyd Luckhoo; she served in his Chambers for four and half years. After this period she was eligible to sit the Law Society Examination, and qualified as a Solicitor in 1949. Thereafter, she joined the Firm of Luckhoo and Luckhoo, Legal Practitioners. At the firm her practice was limited as she did not want to appear in the Magistrate’s Court and thoroughly enjoyed being instructing Solicitor in Criminal cases, preparing pleadings, Conveyance, Divorce and Matrimonial matters.

In 1956 she experienced what few persons experience in a lifetime, love at first sight, when she met Dr. Peter Byrne, a Veterinary Surgeon from Ireland. Her feelings of love were reciprocated and they married in 1957. Her marriage brought more happiness to her life as she had her two children, Adrian and Denise, to complete her family.

However, being wife and mother did not keep her out of the professional field. She continued to practise law, performed the duties as Mayoress of Georgetown having been designated to do so during her brother Lionel’s term of office as Mayor in 1955 – 1956 and 1960 – 1961 and she also had the privilege of being Honorary Consul for Sweden.

Throughout her career, and working at the Firm of Luckhoo and Luckhoo she achieved significantly. However, she recalls that one of her most memorable moments as a lawyer was the case in which Noor Mohammed was charged with murder. She and her brother represented him. He was convicted of the crime, but they were granted leave to go to the Privy Council where their Appeal was successful. At the prison when she told Noor Mohammed he was a free man he fell on his knees and said “Thank you God, thank you Sir, thank you Missus – I will never do it again!!”

She continued to practice until 1975, but at this time, her husband Peter was desirous of returning to his homeland and so, they decided to take up residence in Dublin, Ireland.

Where can we find her now?

Her love and husband, Peter died in 1990 and after much deliberation she decided to return to the warmth of the Caribbean and to Trinidad, since her sister and son reside there. She continues to lead a hectic life there as Vice-President of the Mayfair Ladies Bridge Club and former Director of Harbour View Ltd – a block of Apartments where she now resides. She attends the Races at Arima Race Course regularly and is always excited when the horses in which she has a share wins. At 89 years old, she is still going strong, pursuing many activities and still makes time for her children, 5 grandchildren and 1 great grand.