Westmoreland-Traore UWI Luminary recipient

Juanita Westmoreland-Traore
Juanita Westmoreland-Traore

Judge Juanita Westmoreland-Traore, the first person of African origin elevated to the bench in Quebec, and dancehall reggae sensation Orville ‘Shaggy’ Burrell are the recipients of the 2015 University of the West Indies Toronto Benefit Gala Luminary Award.

The awards will be presented at the gala on March 28 at the Ritz Carlton in Toronto.

Meanwhile, in honour of UWI patron the late Ray Chang, the Chang Family will continue serving as patron. In addition, a new honour has been created, the G. Raymond Chang Award which recognizes an individual who embodies the leadership and ideals for which Chang stood.

Westmoreland-Traore, born in Verdun, Quebec, of Guyanese parents, was the first Black dean of a law school. She was appointed to the Criminal and Penal Division as well as the Youth Division of the Court of Quebec in April 1999. She sits in Montreal.

Westmoreland-Traore was admitted to the Quebec Bar in 1967 and the Law Society of Upper Canada in 1997, while specializing in immigration and citizenship law, human rights, family law and non-profit organization law. She is known for her commitment to battling discrimination and promoting equity for all Canadians.

A professor in the Department of Legal Services at the University of Quebec in Montreal from 1976 to 1991, she was, from 1996 to the time of her appointment, dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Windsor. She is well known for her role in establishing the Conseil des Communautes Culturelles et de I’mmigration du Quebec, over which she presided from 1985 to 1990.

She made an impact while serving as Ontario’s Employment Equity Commissioner from 1991 to 1995, a thorn in the Mike Harris’ government side. In 1995, she was a UN consultant advising Haiti’s Commission on Truth and Justice.

Westmoreland-Traore is married to Ismail Traore. They have two adult sons.

Emerging in the early ’90s, Shaggy was the biggest crossover success in dancehall reggae. Not only did he become the genre’s most commercially potent artist in the international market, he was also more than just a typical flash in the pan, managing to sustain a career over the course of several highly popular albums.

He became one of the few reggae artists to top the album and pop singles charts in the U.S. and had success in numerous other countries including Canada.

Born Orville Richard Burrell on Oct. 22, 1968, in Kingston, Jamaica, he was nicknamed after the Scooby-Doo cartoon character.

As well as his music, Shaggy is also widely known for his philanthropic efforts which raise millions of dollars for the Bustamante Hospital for Children.

Other Award recipients are: Charles S. Coffey with the G. Raymond Chang Award; Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival and George Brown College with the Chancellor’s Award and Cameron Bailey and Dr. Catherine Chandler-Critchlow with the Vice-Chancellor’s Award.