Graduate Caroline Gibbes is fascinated by legislation: “Without laws it would be chaos”

POSTED: 09/2/13 11:51 AM
Graduate Caroline Gibbes shows her thesis. Photo Today / Leo Brown

Graduate Caroline Gibbes shows her thesis. Photo Today / Leo Brown

St. Maarten / By Daphne Stuut – After a study of 7 years, recent law graduate Caroline Gibbes went back to her roots on St. Maarten to take some time off. With two Master degrees in corporate and criminal law and a Bachelor degree in General law of the University of Leiden in her pocket, the 25-year-old Gibbes hasn’t decided as yet what her direction will be.

“Maybe I will start working as a judge or a prosecutor in the future. With the recent crisis I can go into the direction of non-government organizations as well,” she said. “To me all options are open, whether it’s going to be here in St. Maarten or in Holland.”

Even before Gibbes says that as a little girl she already was attracted to the law. So the die was cast even before she officially decided to pursue her law studies. The former VWO Milton Peters College student passed her SAT in the top 5% of all schools that year. “In school plays I always wanted to be the lawyer or the judge. I wore an oversized suit and a big briefcase and that is how I went to school. I thought that was amazing,” she says laughing. “I think law is fascinating. All civilized societies are founded on laws, without them it would be chaos.” She added that she wants to stand up for the people and help them because “the law protects the weak and vulnerable against the strong.”

Gibbes, the daughter of television host Oral Gibbes, recently handed her thesis over to Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams; One about state secrets and one about ethical principles regarding insolvency practitioners of the EU. “In my thesis on state secrets I studied for four months on three articles of the law book on what the penalties would be if those secrets will be leaked out and how that situation is in Holland.” She discovered that the law on this matter never had been updated after the Second World War. “In my opinion these laws should be rewritten to make it clearer to the public on what exactly a state secret is.”

Her second study took her a bit longer. “This one took me approximately eight months,” she said. “I collaborated a lot with different lawyers abroad because I researched six member states within the EU.” Gibbes researched two questions. She wanted to have an idea about the ethical principles regarding lawyers that are appointed in bankruptcy cases and if those existing laws should be revised to make it better to pass a new legislation on a national level or an EU level.

Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams congratulated Gibbes on Friday when she received the thesis from the young law graduate.  “I would like to not only congratulate but also thank Caroline for the excellent work she has done and would like to urge students who have departed for the Netherlands some one month ago to use her as an example of what can be achieved with dedication and focus.”

Gibbes said when she moved to Holland for her study she received much support from the Stichting Student Support (S4). “When I left St. Maarten to study in Leiden, we were the first set of students of the S4 to be sent abroad. They were a huge safety net for us, we didn’t know anybody and S4 helped us to come in contact with other students and organized workshops and other activities for the students.”

Gibbes who became a mentor for S4 herself during her last two years in Holland explained why she wanted to present her thesis especially to the prime minister. “Mrs. Wescot-Williams at the time of my departure was the Commissioner of Education and she supported us during the years and always motivated us students to continue in what we were doing. That’s why I am very thankful for her continued support.”

Besides the PM, Gibbes wants to thank several others for their support and motivation over the years. “First of all I would like to thank my parents for being there for me and always supporting me in what I was doing. Secondly I would like to thank others who helped me discover my passion for law and pushed me in this direction; the late police chief Walter Kramers, who took me to court cases when I was younger and showed me how everything worked; law firm Gibson and Associates for giving me an internship during my VWO at Milton Peters College; Dr. Nilda Arduin who gave me an interview when I was in sixth grade and provided me with tons of information on laws; Mrs. Shirley Serbony for being a big help in Holland; the teachers of the Butterfly Kindergarten School as well as the teachers of the St. Marie Laurence School and in particular former principal Henri Brookson; and last but not least the teachers of MPC,” she said. She added that the stories about MPC being a bad school aren’t true. “MPC is indeed capable of producing good students. I am proof of that and I had a great time.”


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