Jermaine Case, an esteemed lawyer and University of Cambridge graduate, was five years old when his mother Doreen Ashley left Jamaica in search of a better life for herself and her family.
He, along with his sister Camesha, were left with guardians in their Anderson Town community of Clarendon, not far from the St Ann border.
“We didn’t have a fixed home,” Case told The Jamaica Beacon, noting that his rural community became a virtual household and its members his extended family.
“Although my sister and I stayed with different people, my mom was always involved in our lives, showing us a lot of love,” added Case. “When she left Jamaica to live in Cayman, for example, we didn’t have cellphones. As a result, we would travel to a home and wait there for that exciting phone call just to speak with our mom.”
Those and other experiences have helped to mould Case into a highly responsible and humble person and a philanthropist at heart.
His philanthropic works are many – from teaching children on verandas in his district when he was younger, to eventually launching The Case Foundation to help a number of needy students who live in his community.
Case, who enjoyed hunting birds and visiting the river when he was growing up, did well academically at Edwin Allen High School, where he also served as Head Boy.
His formidable efforts, over the years, have earned him numerous accolades and awards.
Case is, among other things, a past recipient of the Governor General’s Achievement Award for community development and academic excellence.
In 2011, he was adjudged the second best oralist when Norman Manley Law School defeated the famed Yale Law School at the finals of the World Human Rights Moot Court Competition, held in South Africa.
A year before that, Case was valedictorian at his graduation from the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI). He repeated that valedictorian feat two years later when he exited Norman Manley Law School.
The young scholar holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree (First Class Honours) from UWI, and a Master of Laws Degree in International Law from the University of Cambridge in England.
As a result of his outstanding performance at the prestigious Cambridge, that institution bestowed the Sir Hirsch Lauterpacht prize upon him.
Case, after leaving Cambridge, worked at the law firm Myers, Fletcher & Gordon.
In November 2015, he eventually joined the International Division at the Attorney General’s Chambers in Kingston. There, he conducts research, provides legal advice, and represents Jamaica at local and international meetings.
Case is also involved in all bauxite-related transactions, and he worked an arbitration matter in 2015 between the then Noranda Bauxite and the Government of Jamaica.
The Clarendon native, who told The Jamaica Beacon that he initially wanted to become a pilot but switched to law, tutors at the UWI Mona campus.
He intends to leave law with a rich catalog of publications, and to eventually become involved in representational politics.
“I do intend, this year, to begin to see if politics is something I could successfully get involved in,” the 29-year-old said.
He emphatically stated that he craves a new brand of politics – one in which Jamaica trumps political expediency.
“I think it is a good thing that I am not a strictly partisan person. If I were to go into politics, that is how I would look at things,” Case reasoned.
“You can win elections by just being honest and fair and not strictly partisan. If you work hard to the benefit of people, I think you will see the rewards in terms of voting patterns, especially in the not-so-tribal constituencies.”
Case is not the only one possibly salivating at the thought of his involvement in politics.
His mother, Ashley, in fact, thinks her only son has all the trappings of a great leader.
“I believe he will be an excellent prime minister because of the mindset that he has. He is a loving, caring person who thinks highly of people and his community,” she said. “I know he will drive Jamaica in the right direction. I am not saying this because he is my son; it is a point of view shared by other people who know him.”
The beaming mother, who spoke with The Jamaica Beacon from her adopted home in the Cayman Islands, said she was very careful about the type of people with whom she was leaving her children in Jamaica.
They were left with persons including their aunt I-ynoie and close family friend Shirley Palmer.
“Leaving my children was the hardest decision I ever made. Living in Jamaica, I couldn’t afford to give them the education they needed, so I had to go overseas for a better paying job,” Ashley said.
“As a mother, I never stop loving my kids. Our relationship is not just a mother and children one; it is also a combination of best friend, lover, cousin, aunt, and even as a father.”
Case, who attested to his mother’s fervent efforts, stated that, although he has had numerous accomplishments, he also experienced failures.
They include the one he faced when he first tried to enroll in the law programme at UWI. He was successful on his second attempt, and went on to become one of the university’s most academically accomplished law students.
“Life is challenging generally, but I try not to see challenges as impediments per se,” Case asserted.
“Whenever life gets tough, that’s when I am probably at my best, trying to find the solutions and trying not to be flustered. I always try to have a positive approach, and that strategy has worked for me almost all of my life.”
– Horace Mills
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