Human Rights News

Tribute in Memory of a Brother, a High School Senior, and a Legal Scholar, Dr.Henry Carrol

Now that I am finding the strength to exit the grieving phase and enter the phase of articulating my gratitude to my departed friend, Dr. Henry Darlington Richmond Carrol, LLB (HONS) U.K., B.L. (Hons); LLM (U.K.); Ph.D. (U.K.), a Doctor of Laws and former Registrar of Companies of the Attorney General’s Chambers and a Senior Law Lecturer at The Gambia Technical Training Institute ( from 1994 to date).

It is time to reflect on his immense, timeless legacy of academic brilliance and public intellectual activism. I recall that in Saint Augustine High School and as a clerk at the Attorney General Chamber at the Ministry of Justice, I was most impressed by the then youthful, ebullient Henry Carrol, who had not earned his Ph.D. then. I was propelled over by his deliberate lexical exuberance, boundless scholarly energy, facility with the intellectually fashionable phraseology of high theory, theoretical showmanship, mastery of Marxian polemics, and admirable capacity to integrate theory with praxis.

Troy, one of the most-watched films of the early 2000s, ends in the following words:

“If they ever tell my story, let them say that I walked with giants. Men rise and fall like the winter wheat, but these names will never die. Let them say I lived in the time of Hector tamer of horses. Let them say I lived in the time of Achilles.”

We are sojourners in this world. Shakespeare wrote, in McBeth, that “life’s like a walking shadow.” The “walking shadow” that is human life will fade out for each of us, but no one knows their day or the hour. Everyone “struts and frets his hour upon the stage” of worldly life, and then the lot falls on someone to tell a story—the story of a departed soul’s temporal sojourn.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the lot has fallen on me to Saint Augustine’s High School alumni, the story of Dr.Henry Carrol. When they tell the story of each Saint Augustine’s High School Alum, I hope they will remember to say that Dr.Henry Carrol was a master potter who artfully molded giants in the 1990s. I hope they will remember to say that Dr.Carrol of the Attorney General Chambers and Ministry of Justice served the First, Second, and Third Presidents of the Republic of the Gambia through Dr.Henry Carrol’s steady and dextrous legal experience. I hope they will remember to say that the lawyer and Attorney General of the third President of the Republic of Gambia passed through Dr. Henry Carrol’s inimitable tutelage. In summary, they will remember to say, when they tell the story of every alum of Law School of the Gamba, that Dr. Henry Carrol impacted legal knowledge from scratch, an institution of law that produced acclaimed professionals in law and many other fields.

Dr. Henry Carrol was a force of nature. He was an intellectual giant known for his eloquent and persuasive speeches. He excels at English and often incorporates Latin phrases into his speeches. However, I can tell you that he is known for his passionate and inspiring speeches and newspaper articles that often touch on issues such as law, leadership, and governance; Dr. Carrol’s contributions to law were unparalleled. His loss is tremendous, not just for the Gambia, his colleagues and students, and the people who loved him, but for his incredible impact. His loss profoundly saddens us, but we are heartened by the tremendous legacy he has left for us to carry on.”

Henry Carrol leaves behind memories of an energetic, innovative, thoughtful, and generous lawyer, teacher, and scholar. He radiated inspiration, elicited respect, and prompted admiration. He was beloved by many fortunate enough to come under his sway. Seldom has a law scholar rated such a deep sense of gratitude.

He will undoubtedly be remembered not only by his students or a generation of lawyers who have been mentored and inspired by him but also by people across the country who knew that there was a lawyer and an adjunct lecturer who took the side of David against a series of Goliaths.

Dr. Carrol was a model public intellectual who taught us that you should maintain scholarly rigor to operate in the public intellectual space. He was a committed patriot Gambian. His passion was education, notably higher education. He saw quality education and an elevated life of the mind as Africa’s salvation. He put his brain where his passion lay. He mentored many young scholars in the Gambia and its diaspora.

He gave himself to the Gambia even at his own expense, and even when, at times, the Gambia repaid him with indifference. Dr.Carrol was quick-witted and humorous. No conversation with him was ever dull. He was a factory of ideas, a rare productive thinker. However, the sincerity and satirical enthusiasm with which he delivered biting critiques and insights on Gambian affairs won him many fans from different educational and professional strata in the Gambia and beyond.

In this reflective Tribute, I wish to focus on three aspects of Pius’s academic and public intellectual practice.

Dr. Carrol regularly laced his sociopolitical commentaries with Latin phrases of the Gambian public space. He did not do so merely to offer a symbolic space to voiceless Gambians; he did so because he often found the pretensions of formal, disciplined academic speech pretentious. Dr. Henry Carrol’s intellectual legacy is his ability to speak Latin; being bi-lingual, he consumed and wrote academic and literary works in English and Latin. He participated in the vibrant world of intellection, whose intellectual repertoires are restricted by our linguistic handicap and are, as a result, marooned in the narrow world of Anglophone and Latin knowledge.

Troy, the film alluded to in the opening of this Tribute, commences with the following words:

“Men are haunted by the vastness of eternity. And so, we ask ourselves: will our actions echo across the centuries? Will strangers hear our names long after we are gone, and wonder who we were, how bravely we fought, how fiercely we loved?”

Ladies and Gentlemen, Henry has left a rich and exemplary legacy. Dr. Henry Carrol’s legacy will last for generations. Dr. Henry Carrol fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith. I learned so much from reading Dr. Carrol’s work. I learned from our conversations and observing how he related to Gambians, high and low, and Gambian institutions. I am indebted to him in ways I never told him. Dr.Henry Carrol, my friend, and rest well. May Henry’s Soul Rest in Eternal Peace.

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