(CMR) Government has announced today the appointment of the country’s new Solicitor General, Reshma Sharma.
She was appointed to the position from 1 August 2019 following a rigorous open recruitment process.
Ms Sharma is currently Acting Attorney General, a post she has held at varied times in the absence of the Attorney General, is also the Portfolio of Legal Affairs’ (POLA’s) Chief Officer with responsibility for all operations of the Portfolio including budget and personnel matters.
Acting Solicitor General from 1 June 2017 to 31 July 2019, Ms. Sharma served in the Portfolio of Legal Affairs (PLA) as the Deputy Solicitor General from June 2016 to her present appointment. Prior to that, Ms. Sharma was employed in the PLA as Senior Crown Counsel and Crown Counsel I (with responsibility for Treaties and Conventions), following her joining the CIG in May 2005 as Crown Counsel.
At that time, Ms. Sharma brought with her rich experience in public administrative and constitutional law (both in litigation and advisory matters) gleaned in her native Trinidad and Tobago. This was while she served with the Solicitor General’s Chambers in the Ministry of the Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago as State Counsel I-III and subsequently Acting Senior State Counsel.
In her subsequent time in the Cayman Islands, Ms. Sharma built further on her considerable experience through her work in provision of advice to CIG entities, statutory authorities and other public bodies. Her work here has covered a wide range of subjects including immigration, civil aviation, employment, procurement, intellectual property, and especially, human rights.
She conducted litigation on numerous matters before the various tiers of Cayman Islands’ Courts as well as statutory tribunals including the Immigration Appeals Tribunal, Labour Tribunal and Roads Assessment Committee. Notably, her work in this regard has covered a range of constitutional and public administrative law matters, involving novel and often complex issues, as well as matters of considerable public interest.
Some of the human rights litigation in which she has been involved has raised novel points of law in the Cayman Islands under the CI Bill of Rights provisions in the Constitution Order, 2009.
These include the first same-sex marriage challenge in the CI, the first challenge involving age/nationality discrimination under the Bill of Rights, the compatibility of statutory immunity provisions excluding claims in medical negligence with the Bill of Rights and the challenge to the closure of a portion of the West Bay Road.
Ms. Sharma was also actively involved in human rights training conducted by CIG in collaboration with the Commonwealth Foundation for the public service and civil society, and for civil servants as part of a Constitution Sensitisation Committee.
Additionally, during her years of service in the Cayman Islands, she has also engaged in the review, preparation and negotiation of contracts of varying complexity and technical subject-matter, some of which relate to large capital development projects in Grand Cayman including re-development of roads infrastructure and the development of medical tourism facilities.
As head of the Treaties and Conventions Unit in the Attorney General’s Chambers, she coordinated work on conventions extended to the Cayman Islands such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and more recently, worked on the extension of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
In the field of international cooperation, Ms. Sharma serves as counsel to the Central Authority under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty between the US and the UK and is also responsible for matters arising under the Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil or Commercial Matters.
Ms. Sharma served as a member of the Cayman Islands Water Authority for many years. She is currently a member of the Anti-Money Laundering Steering Group, the Law Reform Commission and the Cayman Islands Child Safeguarding Board.
Ms. Sharma was admitted to practice law in Trinidad and Tobago in October 1997. She also has a Masters of Law Degree (Commercial Law) from the University of Aberdeen, part of which included Oil and Gas law.
Commenting on her appointment as Solicitor General, Deputy Governor Hon. Franz Manderson, MBE said, “I am delighted that an attorney of the caliber of Ms. Sharma has been appointed to this position within the Cayman Islands Government. Ms. Sharma has served our Government admirably in all the years she has served in the public sector. I look forward to her continued sterling service to the people of these Islands.”
Attorney General, Hon. Samuel Bulgin, QC, commented: “I hold Ms. Sharma in high esteem for the probity and intelligence she brings as a professional in the Portfolio of Legal Affairs. Her attention to detail and subtle nuances when dealing with even complex matters has been an invaluable asset within these Chambers. I congratulate on her attaining this important position in government and welcome her expertise in the service of the people in the coming years.”
Commenting on her new assignment, Ms. Sharma said, “I am deeply honoured by this appointment and grateful to both the Honourable Deputy Governor and Honourable Attorney General for their confidence in my ability to lead this Portfolio and its talented and dedicated staff.
It has been an incredible privilege to serve the Government of the Cayman Islands over the past 14 years and I look forward to this new chapter and the experiences to come. There will be challenges ahead but with the collective best efforts of my staff, the Portfolio will continue to strive for excellence as part of the journey towards a world-class civil service.Reshma Sharma