New lawyer aims for international change
January 12, 2020
By Lakhram BhagiratAs cliché as the Gandhi statement is — “be the change you want to see” — that is exactly the aim of 22-year-old Krystal Sukra as she begins her legal career after being admitted to the Local Bar.Sukra is more than just an attorney, she is also a local sports icon who has dominated the lawn tennis and volleyball fields for a number of years.Hailing from New Amsterdam in Berbice, Sukra recently completed her legal education at the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad, and last Wednesday had her application to be admitted to the bar presented before Justice Gino Persaud at the High Court. Immediately after being admitted to the local bar, <> caught up with the excited young woman, who explained that the road to get to where she is has not always been a paved bed of roses.She said she has had to balance the love of sport, separation from her family, and the pressure to perform excellently in school.When Sukra had gained a place at the Bishops’ High School in Georgetown and her brother a place at Queen’s College, her mother had taken the bold decision to move with them to Georgetown while her father had stayed behind to work and support the family.When she moved to Georgetown, Sukra made the National Tennis team, and represented Guyana in a number of games.When she graduated from the Bishops’ High School, she was too young to be admitted to the University of Guyana, so a decision was made for her to do a year of studies at the Queen’s College. Upon completion, she had gone off to UG and did a first year degree in International Relations, and was admitted to the Law Programme, from where she graduated with a 3.6GPA.To complete her legal education, Sukra then went on to Trinidad, where she attended the HWLS.“We knew — even though it was difficult and dad being away — we knew it was something we had to do, and sacrifices had to be made in order for us to reap the benefits, and that is something we had to do. Sports is very important to anyone’s physical and mental wellbeing, and it helped mould me into a rounded person,” she said.For now Sukra intends to start a local practice, but she has her eyes set on a career in International Law. She indicated that the decision to practice locally for some time has been made because she wants some hands-on experience before pursuing her Master’s degree. She had been accepted into Duke University but has deferred attendance until next year.“International law is dynamic. It is multifaceted, and it encompasses so many areas. Whether it is human rights or international environmental law, trade, maritime boundary disputes, regulation of global commerce; it is everything. I am most passionate about international human rights law and international environmental law because I think that human rights are important for women, especially in the 21st century, and the UN advocates that gender equality is important to the socioeconomic development of any country,” she explained.Sukra has said she does believe that the standards and best practices established internationally must be implemented in our domestic legislation, since they create more impact. She has said her interest in international law is bigger, and she is aiming at effecting change at the highest international level, since she wants “to be a part of global change and shaping the global society.”“I am passionate about the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women. The United Nations states that gender equality is not only a basic human right, but its achievement is imperative. It’s important to socio- economic development, yet gender inequality remains entrenched in our society; and even though Guyana has ratified the Convention on Discrimination of Women, there is still the prevalent patriarchal control of women, which is caused by gender stereotype roles and active condemnation of the ever-progressive society, because it is considered incongruous to the cultural and social ethos of Guyana. As a result, women are the victims of sexual and domestic violence,” Sukra said.She hopes that with international best practices, the perception changes. For now, she is determined to make her mark in the courts of Guyana, and move on to bigger things, effecting the kind of change she wants to see.