– was twice denied entry into UG law programme
By Alisa Lashley
DESPITE having her application to the University of Guyana (UG) law programme twice denied and facing several personal challenges, Latifah Elliot pushed on, and has now realized her dream of becoming an Attorney-at-Law.
Elliot, who is known for striving for success no matter the task, was, last Friday, admitted to the Guyana Bar.
Senior Council, Edward Luckhoo, presented her petition at the Demerara High Court.
Her parents instilled in her the value of education and their desire for her to always fulfil her dreams. As a child, success came naturally, especially when it was something that she had put her mind to.
Hailing from East Ruimveldt in Georgetown, the 26-year-old mother of one attended the West Ruimveldt Primary School, and after writing the Grade Six exam, she was awarded a place at Charlestown Secondary. After completing her secondary education, she attended the UG where she successfully completed the Associate Degree in Arts (History) and Diploma in Social Work. Subsequently, she was accepted into the university’s law programme and began pursuing her dream of becoming an Attorney-at-Law.
During an exclusive interview with the Guyana Chronicle following her admission, the young attorney noted that the journey was not a smooth one. She took every opportunity that came her way and pushed forward in pursuit of her goal.
She spoke of the many challenges she encountered and sacrifices she had to make, including, leaving her young daughter while she completed the last leg of her journey at the Hugh Wooding Law School (HWLS) in Trinidad.
“I embraced the few challenges with courage and I optimized every opportunity that would improve my self-elevation as an individual. Studying law requires much dedication and many days of long and intense studying. Since I had to go to Trinidad to complete studies for two years, I was faced with the difficult choice of leaving my daughter in the care of my family. Even though being away from her was very hard, I stayed in constant contact while knowing that I needed to hold out and complete my studies to show her that despite any hardship life throws her way, once she puts her mind to anything, she can achieve it,” Elliot posited.
It is often said that setbacks are only challenges in disguise and are opportunities for individuals to perform at a new level.
“Before starting my journey towards my legal career, I pursued an Associate Degree in Arts (History) and a Diploma in Social Work. Twice I had applied to pursue law, but my application was not accepted. For a while I was overcome by self-doubt but I remember asking God to let His will be done and I later turned every rejection into motivation to work even harder. Finally, upon the completion of my Social Work programme, I once again re-applied and my application was accepted,” Elliot recounted.
The COVID-19 pandemic came in Elliot’s final year. She noted that given the existence of the virus, it was often times difficult for her to balance her studies. She followed all safety protocols and prayed for the safety of herself and family.
In advising individuals who are pursuing a legal career, Elliot said, “Even though our destinies have already been written, we must actively and consistently put in the work to become what we were meant to be. My advice is to pursue your passion with ambition. Don’t limit yourself. Don’t get comfortable with mediocrity. Always strive for excellence and tap into yourself to unearth your greatest potential.”
When asked about her long term goals, Elliot stated that she wants to have a long and successful legal career. She hopes to make a valuable contribution to the local jurisprudence over time.
In her final words to the Guyana Chronicle, she said that law is the pillar on which justice, peace and societal development rests and it presents an opportunity for her to be the voice of the voiceless as well as to bring justice to those who seek it.