Happy in new role of lawyer
After 35 years in the Royal Barbados Police Force, Neville Reid has hung up his sergeant’s uniform to become a lawyer.
His last assignment as a police officer before retiring in March was that of prosecutor in Criminal Court No. 1 of the District “A” Magistrates’ Court.
“[Becoming a lawyer after being a prosecutor] usually follows each other, and I always believed that people should try to improve themselves and make use of the opportunities that come. When I first got promoted in 1995, I decided I should try to improve myself by way of education, so that I would be more adequately able to represent the Force,” he said.
The 54-year-old Reid said he applied to study law and history at the University of the West Indies, but was accepted to do a philosophy degree.
“Strangely enough, after the first couple of weeks, I really fell in love with it. Although my grades were up and I had the opportunity to change, I remained and completed the degree in philosophy,” he said.
Two years after graduating, he took up his legal studies and now he’s comfortably working with Queen’s Counsel Andrew Pilgrim and his team.
“I also did my internship here, so it’s more like being at home. It’s a nice family atmosphere, and there is a wealth of knowledge in chambers. When I came back from [Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad] in 2014, even before being admitted to the Bar, Mr Pilgrim met me and said that if I was thinking about making the change, his chambers were available,” he said.
Reid responded to possible conflict about making the change from policing to defence counsel while having intimate knowledge of some of the pending cases by saying it is all about being fair.
“If any of those cases come my way, I would refuse them . . . . There is not every aspect of investigation that is to come to the knowledge of the court; there are certain things that would be kept in the police circles. Knowing that, I would not get involved in any matters that I was instrumental in before.
“I believe I left the organisation on relatively good terms . . . . A lot of colleagues at my level and those who were supervising me were happy for me,” he said.
Pressed as to if he missed the uniform, Reid said he did not at all, having worked in every area of the Force, except Police Headquarters and the Special Branch.
“I always wanted to be a policeman. The first time I went enquiring about the Force, I was 14 years old, and the recruiting officer laughed at me. I eventually joined on July 9, 1983. When I first joined the Force, I said if by 35 I am not promoted I would move on; I was promoted at 31. Then I said if by age 50 I am not off the streets and working in an office, I would move on,” he explained, adding that he would spend the next ten to 15 years before retiring.
Neville Reid says he is at home working with Pilgrim & Associates.