Youth volunteer, Christopher Belfield goes to law school
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on google
Share on whatsapp
Christopher Belfield
Christopher Belfield

-seeks help to fund journey

THE life of 24-year-old Christopher Belfield was not an easy one. Like many others, he struggled to make ends meet while studying for his Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree and juggling multiple jobs.

But he still found time to volunteer and poured himself into community development and now, his childhood dream of becoming a lawyer is almost a reality as he has been accepted to study at the Hugh Wooding Law School (HWLS).

During an interview with the Sunday Chronicle, Belfield detailed his journey, outlining the challenges he faced in order to get to the point of being accepted to read for his Legal Education Certificate (LEC) at HWLS, as well as those which can possibly hinder him completing his legal studies, namely, his tuition fees.

“In Primary School, my goal was to become a lawyer, despite not knowing exactly what that was. I just knew that I had a passion for ensuring that the persons around me weren’t taken advantage of, and that I positioned myself to represent them to avoid such,” Belfield said.

Christopher Belfield assisting with a feeding programme through the Leo Club of Bel Air

But despite working a full-time job at a law firm, while at the same time doing a part-time evening job at a call centre and also working as an events co-ordinator on the weekends, Belfield is still unable to reach the G$3,285,996 to pay for only his first year, with his second year rapidly approaching.

“I stem from humble beginnings. For a significant fragment of my childhood life I grew up with my mom, Christine Belfield, who didn’t enjoy the best of health in a room with at least one wall bordered by cartoon boxes which I often spent time reading the print off of, in a house of at least 15 people at any given time with no electricity,” the aspiring lawyer told the Sunday Chronicle.

Despite his circumstances and environment, at no point did he feel as though he was lacking resources and his mother was determined to ensure that he achieves his full potential which kept the flame of his childhood dream burning.

Belfield left the St. Gabriel’s Primary School, Georgetown, and made his way to Queens College (QC) in 2009 where he completed his Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) studies in 2014 and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) studies in 2016.

“After successfully securing 14 CSEC subjects, I sought employment and decided I’d enrol in UG a year prior and one of my teachers Ms. Stewart was the one who called me back, paid for my registration and said I should continue QC and do CAPE,” he said.

He added, “I obtained seven units at CAPE; my next goal was to secure an LLB. My parents separated during that period after almost 30 years of marriage, so that posed its own challenges,” he added.

In 2016, Belfield enrolled with the University of London (UoL) to read for his LLB and he commenced his studies with a local teaching institution; however, he had to opt to teach himself to be able to effectively manage his studies.

When he commenced his legal studies, he started teaching at a secondary education institution; however, that was short-lived and he quickly sought to secure employment in the legal arena to develop his requisite skills; he then joined the Ibis Law Chambers as a paralegal.

“I fished for a job by calling most of the city firms and enquiring about vacancy [sic] since the process of applications was a waste of time and money. Mr. Leslie Sobers, attorney-at-law, hired me and has been an exceptional guide,” Belfield said.

Starting off with a salary of $50,000, Belfield said he accepted it gracefully because, for him, being in the legal profession was much more than the financial gain despite the heavy financial obligations of studies and the other aspects of life.

“Working became more than a job, it’s a lifestyle; the hours are long and the demands are endless. There’s never a time when my phone isn’t going off with messages or calls either from a client, staff, friend or a stranger.

“What’s a file for me is life for a client and that’s how I have had to approach my career in law; understanding that people just don’t walk in our doors for legal help, but for therapy and solving life issues beyond my vision. That’s the reason I’ve been so passionate and so committed,” the young legal student contended.

His stint as a paralegal lasted for five years until he was recently accepted to finish his studies and qualify as an attorney-at-law.

“I funded the majority of my studies through supplemental employment at nights at a call centre (Qualfon) and on the weekends do [sic] multiple gigs and also through bank loans. My two brothers, father and mom would support me when I made rare requests.

“It was frustrating and definitely tiring because of how much I had to manage, but I knew It was a necessary undertaking in realising my goal,” he added.

During his academic journey, Belfield also remained committed to serving those around him. He was responsible for forming the Leo Club of Bel Air in November, 2017 and is currently the President of that club.

He is also a member of Policy Forum Guyana, the ASPIRE Youth Network and he formed part of a Commonwealth Conference which dealt with Advancing Towards the Future with Emerging Technologies and Artificial Intelligence in 2021.

“I was also one of the awardees of the Caribbean Community Aspire Youth Empowerment Programme in 2020 which sought to train selected youth across the Caribbean in financial literacy, leadership, business planning, sales, marketing & networking, prototype and modelling,” Belfield noted.

Most recently, he was elected to serve as the Public Relations Officer of the Queen’s College Old Students’ Association and has taken up the post of President of the Heart to Art Foundation, which is focused on youth empowerment, education and social development.

In 2019 he was accepted to attend the Nottingham Trent University to read for the Legal Practitioners Programme to qualify as a solicitor in the United Kingdom and also to do a Master Degree; however, COVID-19 did not allow that.

“I felt it was the universe’s way of giving me a break and [a] time to focus on my mental and emotional self [sic] which was pertinent, since I come from a family that suffers heavily from mental illness. I lost an extremely brilliant cousin in 2018 to suicide,” he said.

Now that he has been offered a place at the HWLS, Belfield is committed to using the legal fraternity to foster a better environment and society through just, equitable opportunities for every Guyanese.

“I understand that before I’m able to effect the change in society that I envision myself doing, I first need to work on acquiring the necessary tools, not just academically, but spiritually, mentally and emotionally, that’s my aim right now.

“I’ve seen so many persons try to conquer the world without first understanding its needs, without understanding how to successfully navigate it and most importantly, failing to realise how they fit into the grand puzzle,” he added.

Belfield expressed appreciation to all those who helped with his journey, and while he has gathered substantive knowledge in law and legal procedures, he said he is entering HWLS with an open mind, hungry to grasp every single concept and committing to remaining disciplined and humble.

Persons desirous of assisting Belfield to realise his dream can contact him on telephone number 657-0584 or email christopher_timeka@yahoo.com.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on google
Google+
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on google
Share on whatsapp
Scroll to Top
All our printed editions are available online

E-Papers Daily

Pepperpot

Business Supplement

Supplement

emblem3
Subscribe to the Guyana Chronicle.
Sign up to receive news and updates.
We respect your privacy.