REMARKABLE: Attorney General Anand Ramlogan greets Veera Bhajan at the Divali Nagar celebrations on Thursday night in Chaguanas. —Photo: Innis Francis

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VEERA THE LAWYER

AG to present girl born without arms to the bar next Friday

By Innis Francis innis.francis@trinidadexpress.com

Veera Bhajan, who was born without arms but overcame all obstacles to earn a law degree, is now employed with the Office of the Attorney General.

And Attorney General Anand Ramlogan will be in court when she is called to the bar at the Hall of Justice, Port of Spain, next Friday.

Ramlogan announced this during an address to celebrants who attended the Divali Nagar in Chaguanas Thursday night.

Bhajan was honoured at the function.

Ramlogan said: "Veera is a personal inspiration to me. It is an accomplishment for a human being with no arms to pass through all levels of schools to become a lawyer. She is a shining example and role model for our youths. She appeared on Facebook and asked me to present her to the bar to become a lawyer. And I humbly accepted," Ramlogan said.

Bhajan, who is employed at the Central Authority at the AG's office, said she deals with extradition matters and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.

Bhajan said she was excited that Ramlogan had agreed to present her to the bar following which she can practise as an attorney and appear in court to represent clients.

"I am enjoying all that is happening for me so far. It is indeed an honour and privilege. I am looking towards having a successful career," she told the Express on Thursday night while challenging others to step up "despite obstacles in their way".

She gave this advice: "Always believe in yourself, have faith in God and never give up. With self belief and confidence nothing is impossible."

In 2009, Bhajan was awarded the Express Individual of the Year Award and in 2004, earned the Express Youth of the Year award.

The nation first got to know Bhajan when still an infant.

Learning to live without arms, Bhajan, of Cacandee Road, Felicity, was enrolled at the Princess Elizabeth School for the differently abled, but excelled at academics and was transferred to the Felicity Hindu primary school.

There she astounded teachers, and secured a place at the St Augustine Girls' High School, going on to obtain full CXC passes and distinctions at the Advanced-Level examinations.

She graduated with her Bachelors of Law degree from the University of the West Indies last year, after studying at the Cave Hill Campus, Barbados, where her mother stayed, to be her hands. Her every word was written with her toes.

Along the way, Bhajan, who received a State scholarship to pursue her studies, was awarded the Hummingbird Silver medal in 2005.

In his address at Divali Nagar, Ramlogan noted that the Divali celebrations were taking place during a State of Emergency.

He said, "In our country today, Divali is celebrated under the State of Emergency with curfew in most areas. But it is pointed out that if there is one thing that the Government has done and if there is one signal we have sent, is that we have built a new jail.

"We have signalled to the criminals, we have made space for you and at the same time we have places like the Divali Nagar to change your life."

Ramlogan said the Government stands committed "to assert vigorously the rights of the State of Emergency "against those who wish to jeopardise the interest of the State and the public's interest".

Ramlogan said he will act with compassion in appropriate cases in the interest of justice.

"The State of Emergency will come to an end and rest assured we have to deal with the post-State of Emergency period," Ramlogan added.

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