House: tributes paid to Cartwright DeCouto
Ann Cartwright DeCouto, who died this week at the age of 71, was recalled by Michael Dunkley as a fearless advocate and a woman of high values and ideals.
Mrs Cartwright DeCouto, a former Deputy Premier with an 18-year career under the United Bermuda Party Government, was also known for her warm relationship with leaders of the Progressive Labour Party, the Premier noted.
“In an era when politics was less personal, she counted among her personal friends Dame Lois Browne-Evans and L. Frederick Wade,” Mr Dunkley told the House of Assembly.
“In spite of them being on the other side of the political fence, she always conducted herself in an appropriate manner.”
The former MP for Pembroke West Central was notorious for her fish-pot ban imposed in 1990, Mr Dunkley recalled — and her unflinching “commitment to her principles” despite the controversy that followed.
“I always got a chuckle from her razor-sharp wit,” Mr Dunkley added.
Walton Brown, joining a number of PLP MPs paying tribute to Mrs Cartwright DeCouto, said the island needed more political figures of her consistency.
Trevor Moniz, the Attorney-General, called her a great friend for whom he had worked in 1980 as a young lawyer, and noted her high performance in the Bar examinations: a formidable counsel in matrimonial law and a “leading advocate in the courts”.
“She was a very strong and very, very bright individual, and there was never any subterfuge,” Mr Moniz said, adding: “She put you in your place extremely quickly if she thought you were out of line.”
Cole Simons of the One Bermuda Alliance hailed her as a trailblazer, one of the island’s first woman lawyers alongside Dame Lois and Shirley Simmons.
Home affairs minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin recalled how both she and Mrs DeCouto had competed for Paget West seat in 1999, after the UBP’s loss to the PLP in the 1998 General Election had deposed the elder MP from her former seat.
That by-election, triggered by the death of MP Madeline Joell, was ultimately won by Ms Gordon-Pamplin.
“I knew from the example I had watched in Ann that I had an example I could emulate,” she said, telling the House that Mrs Cartwright DeCouto would call her with congratulations after a worthy debate in Parliament.
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