It is with great sadness that the partners, management and staff of Higgs & Johnson respectfully say farewell to our esteemed former Senior Partner, Sir Geoffrey A. D. Johnstone, who passed away on 4 August, 2017 at age 89.
Sir Geoffrey joined the firm in 1950 and was admitted to the partnership two years later. Following the retirement of the firm’s founders, Hon. Godfrey Higgs and Mr. Mervyn Johnson, Sir Geoffrey took on the mantle of Senior Partner in 1968, leading the firm with distinction until his own retirement in 1998.
He was a visionary and a progressive – a man who embodied the firm’s motto of “honour and integrity”, and a man who acted consistently with the highest values and principles. He took calculated risks in his leadership; pushing for change, going where no one had gone before, promoting racial integration within the firm’s partnership at a time when few others even conceived of it.
He was a leader in the community, advancing the legal profession as President of the Bahamas Bar Association (1973-1975); serving for decades as Elder at the historic St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church; and promoting the preservation of his beloved country as a member of the Bahamas National Trust and the Bahamas Historical Society.
On the national stage, his service to The Bahamas was exemplary and included two terms in the House of Assembly as representative for the Eastern District of New Providence (1962-1967) and the Montagu Constituency (1967-1972). He served as Minister of Road Traffic and Records (1964-1967), and played a brief role as Leader of the Opposition (1970-1971). During his tenure as Chairman of the Hotel Corporation of The Bahamas (1992-1994), the Corporation executed its groundbreaking strategy to privatise its major assets. He also served as deputy to the Governor General on several occasions during the 1990s.
Sir Geoffrey was appointed a Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George (CMG) by Queen Elizabeth II in 1994, and was named non-resident Ambassador of The Bahamas to Latin America in 1995. He was later made Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George (KCMG) during the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2002.
“We are all beneficiaries of his leadership and mentorship,” says the firm’s current Senior Partner, Philip Dunkley, Q.C. “He had an impressive scholarly wit and infectious sense of humour. We are deeply grateful for his 48 years of untiring commitment to the firm and his lifetime of service to our nation. We extend our condolences to his beloved wife, Lady Anne, and the family, and mourn his passing even as we celebrate the way he lived his life.”
The name Sir Geoffrey A.D. Johnstone will always be synonymous with Higgs & Johnson and will forever be respected and remembered by the legal and business communities of The Bahamas.