Twenty-three-year-old, Samuel Bailey, is Jamaica’s 2020 Rhodes Scholar.
Bailey, an attorney-at-law, was the runner-up for the 2019 scholarship. He was declared this year’s winner of the prestigious award at the end of a rigorous all-day interview process at King’s House on Thursday (Nov. 21).
A delighted Bailey, who spoke after the announcement by Governor General, Sir Patrick Allen, said he was glad he made the decision to reapply.
Bailey believes that the disappointment of not winning the 2019 Rhodes Scholarship helped to build his character and “was something that was necessary.”
“It’s still settling in, but it’s amazing because I’ve always dreamed of being able to do my Masters degree in the UK”— Samuel Bailey
He said he can now fulfil his long-held dream of pursuing graduate studies at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom (UK).
“Winning the scholarship has not settled in fully yet, because I had gone for it last year and I was awarded, runner-up. I just went for it again because people told me, ‘you can’t not try again if you were that close’. It’s still settling in, but it’s amazing because I’ve always dreamed of being able to do my Masters degree in the UK,” he said.
“If you look at the track record of the persons, who have won this scholarship and what they have been able to achieve and how they have been able to help Jamaica to grow, I really want to be a part of that,” he added.
The Ardenne High School past student studied law at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona and Cave Hill campuses where he graduated with First Class Honours and a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.85.
He graduated from the Norman Manley Law School in September and in that same month, was employed as a Judicial Counsel at the Caribbean Court of Justice in Trinidad and Tobago. He was called to the Bar on November 15.
“If you look at the track record of the persons, who have won this scholarship and what they have been able to achieve…I really want to be a part of that”
“I’m getting experience in international law now where I am working, but for the Masters degree, I can go and delve more into international economic law, international investment arbitration, international trade and commercial law, those types of disputes,” Bailey said.
“I really think that now, where the world is becoming like a global village, that it is really important for us to have international lawyers – those persons with that perspective and that experience, who can (inform) the policy decisions that we make, so that our population can benefit,” he said.
Regarding his studies at the University of Oxford, Bailey shared that he has his eyes set on attending Balliol College, where he intends to pursue a Bachelor of Civil Law and a Master of Philosophy.
He said that after returning to Jamaica, he intends to advise the government on policies and decisions that are in line with international treaty obligations and are in the best interest of the country.
The Rhodes Scholarship is one of the oldest in Jamaica and has had a distinguished history spanning 116 years. There has been a scholarship awarded to a Jamaican every year since 1904.
The scholarship was established under the will of Cecil John Rhodes, a British diamond magnate and imperialist, who died in 1903. The aim is to provide future leaders of the English-speaking world with an education that would broaden their views and develop their abilities.
Candidates for Rhodes Scholarships are selected based on qualities of character as well as intellect.
Among the long list of distinguished Jamaicans, who have received the prestigious scholarship are premier and National Hero, Norman Manley; late former Vice Chancellor, UWI, Mona, Professor Rex Nettleford; poet laureate, Mervyn Morris; politician Rev. Ronald Thwaites; Minister of Finance and Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke; Minister of Justice, Delroy Chuck; and President, Court of Appeal, Dennis Morrison.
— JIS (Ainsworth Morris)