Former Supreme Court Justice Emmanuel Osadebay, known for his passion for labor law, died yesterday.
He was 80.
Born in Nigeria on December 8, 1938, Osadebay was greatly recognized for his contributions to law in The Bahamas.
Osadebay obtained an LL.B degree with honors from the University of London in 1966 and was called to the English Bar later that year.
He served as deputy registrar general and registrar of companies in The Bahamas from 1970 to 1971, and as stipendiary and circuit magistrate and senior stipendiary and circuitry magistrate from 1971 to 1980, when he joined the law firm of Nottage Miller, Johnson and Co.
He also served as chairman of the Industrial Relations Board from 1971 to 1977, and a lecturer in law at the University of the West Indies from 1970 to 1977.
He was called to the Bahamas Bar in 1994 and was a partner in the firm of Pinder and Co. from 1992 to 1994.
Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham yesterday described his passing as a great loss.
“I last spoke with him just over a year ago at his home, reminiscing about our past association and relationship,” he said.
“He will be missed.
“He came into my life early when I was reading law. He was one of my law tutors. He was engaged by the Bahamian government at the Registrar General’s Office. He was married to a Bahamian senior nursing officer, Emily. He became a jurist.
“He was a good jurist. He served every level of our judicial system – as a magistrate, a justice of the Supreme Court, member of the Court of Appeal, and then on the Industrial Tribunal. He contributed greatly to the development of law in The Bahamas, most especially, labor law.
“I was pleased to have a hand in passing Bahamian citizenship to him. He came from a foreign land, but he has great love for The Bahamas. He was as Bahamian as anyone born and raised in this country.
“And so I wish to offer my condolences to his wife, Emily, and to his daughters, Jackie, Jeunesse and Janelle.”
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis said Osadebay will be missed.
“I was saddened to learn of the passing of my good friend, colleague at the bar, former magistrate, former justice of the Supreme Court and former justice of Appeal, Emmanuel Osadebay, expert in labor law,” he said.
“The Bahamas has lost a giant in this adopted son.
“Emmanuel Osadebay excelled in all of those roles. He fell in love with and married the lovely Emily King and they produced [three] beautiful daughters, [all] of whom have excelled in their own rights.
“He came to us from Nigeria – the son of a chief – but he fit right into our community and The Bahamas was his home.
“He was involved in every aspect of the life of The Bahamas.
“He was an active member of the bar. He was a lecturer in law. He was active in the social and civic sphere. However, there is no doubt that his consistently stellar performance was his greatest contribution to the development of Bahamian jurisprudence.
“I worked with him on many occasions. I relied on him for advice.
“I will miss him.
“On behalf of my wife Ann Marie, the officers and members of the Progressive Liberal Party, I extend my deepest condolences to his wife Emily, to their daughters and grandchildren.”
The Bahamas Bar Association yesterday also extended condolences to the Osadebay family.
“Members are asked to keep his family in your prayers during this their time of bereavement,” the association said in a statement.
He is survived by his wife Emily and three daughters, Jacqueline Marshalleck, Jeunesse Osadebay-Bullard and Dr. Janelle Osadebay-Brown.