|Bernard Celestino De Santos, SC
Former Attorney General, Guyana
Bernard Celestino De Santos was a Guyanese lawyer and former Attorney General.
Early life and education
Bernard Celestino De Santos was born in British Guiana on 27 April 1938 to parents Bernard Celestino De Santos Sr. and Hilda Beatrice De Santos. He spent his first 50 years in the village of Plaisance on the East Coast of Demerara.
De Santos began his primary education at the St John’s Roman Catholic School, in 1943.
In 1952, De Santos successfully entered Central High School.
After high school, he began working at the Guyana Revenue Authority as a Customs Officer. This was a job he did for almost five years.
After years of hard working De Santos, in 1962, was finally able to pursue his dreams of becoming a lawyer.
Through tireless work and perseverance De Santos managed to complete his law degree at the Inns Court School of Law of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple London England, in 1965.
Upon his return to Guyana he took up a job with the legendary law firm of “Luckhoo and Luckhoo”. However, his tenure there was brief, he moved on to his own private practice.
In 1968, De Santos accepted a job offer to become an Acting Magistrate at the Georgetown Magisterial District. He spent one year on the bench. De Santos went back to private practice in 1969 and he started his own law firm. He named it after his prominent legal inspiration JOF Haynes. The name was “Haynes House of Legal Practitioners.”
In 1991, then President Desmond Hoyte appointed De Santos as a Senior Counsel. Also, in 1991 Dr Cheddi Jagan requested that De Santos join the civic component of the People’s Progressive Party. In 1992 he was put forward as a candidate in the party and helped campaign
DeSantos was appointed Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs on 13 October 1992, in the Dr. Chedi Jagan led People’s Progressive Party (PPP) government. He remained in the position until 1997, when he chose to return to private practice.
After becoming AG, he held several appointments which included Member of the Constitutional Reform Commission, Member of the Sub Committee on Governance, Member of the United Nations Permanent Court of Council, and Member of the Sectoral Committees on Constitutional Reform and Foreign Relations. De Santos served continuously in the Sixth Parliament until it was dissolved on the 29 October 1997. After serving as AG, De Santos returned to private practice.
He was elected an ordinary Member of the National Assembly on 26 February 1998 and served throughout the Seventh Parliament until it was dissolved on the 15 February 2001. He was again elected an ordinary Member of the National Assembly on the 12 April 2001, and continued working in the Eighth Parliament until it was dissolved on the 2 May 2006. He was re-elected an ordinary Member of the National Assembly on the 12 September 2006 and served in that Parliament until it was dissolved on the 27 September 2011.
Up until the time of his death, Mr. DeSantos was still very active at the local bar and made regular appearances before the Criminal and Civil Courts for several of his clients.
Bernard DeSantos died on 8 March 2019 at a city hospital after he was taken to the institution having complained of feeling unwell. He was 80.