As they seek to honor those whose ideals they cherish, the Brooklyn-based St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) Ex-Teachers Association of New York on Sunday bestowed special honor on retired Vincentian Judge Emille Cox.
Cox’s honor, at Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn, was part of the gala 36th anniversary celebration of the group and came on the day preceding the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. public holiday in America.
“Over the years, we have honored leaders, teachers, doctors, lawyers, families, organizations and even institutions,” said Dr. Herman Ambris, a St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ex-Teachers Association of New York trustee, in introducing Judge Cox. “Still, we continue to seek out those whose values represent the greater good. This year, we find them in our honoree.
“As a student par excellence, he epitomized all the goodness and nobility of the human endeavor,” added the medical doctor about Judge Cox, who, he said, was “a friend to all” and was “calm and judicious in his deliberations as a prefect at the SVG Boys’ Grammar School — traits that would eminently prepare him for his current assignment.”
Dr. Ambris, an alumnus at the Grammar School — one of the leading secondary schools in SVG — and an erstwhile student of Judge Cox at that school, said the judge — a Union Island, SVG-born administrative supervising judge of compensation (retired on recall), Division of Workers’ Compensation, New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development – was, at the Grammar School, “an outstanding athlete and a fierce competitor, the gold standard of respect, tolerance, sensitivity, sensibility and courage.”
“We are told by those intimately knowledgeable of his work that his colleagues revere his judgements and his poise,” Dr. Ambris added. “Arguably, men of his ilk abound — men whose lives and accomplishments illuminate an often drab and conflicted society.
“But, in our opinion, he is unique, for none shines brighter in his particular calling,” Dr. Ambris continued. “We are graced, yet humbled, by this giant in our midst, and fervently thank his wife (Elvia) and family for allowing us to experience this moment in his presence.”
Jackson Farrell, president of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ex-Teachers Association of New York and another former student of Judge Cox at the Grammar School, said Cox, among other things, was a radio personality at the then Windward Islands Broadcasting System (WIBS).
The retired public school teacher in Brooklyn said Cox, the sole honoree, “has touched the lives of a wider Caribbean,” adding that he was also “an accomplished comedian, athlete and Master of Ceremonies.”
In his brief remarks, at the gala luncheon, Howie Prince, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Consul General to the United States, saluted the judge for his “sterling contribution to the law in the US.”
Judge Cox lauded his wife for encouraging him to attend law school and stated that it was “a blessing” to become a judge in the US, given his humble beginnings in Ashton, Union Island.”
He expressed gratitude to God for “His hand in my life.”
He told patrons at the ceremony, in his acceptance speech, that he was “truly grateful for this recognition.”
“It is especially meaningful to me, coming from a group such as yours,” he said.
“In scripture, it states that a prophet has no honor in his own country,” Judge Cox added. “This award today, coming from the citizens of my country, takes on a special meaning, and I greatly appreciate it for that reason.”
Don Bobb, the Vincentian-born popular Caribbean radio personality, who served as Master of Ceremonies, said that Judge Cox had taught him French and Spanish in Form 2A at the Grammar School.
After migrating to Brooklyn in 1970 to attend college, Judge Cox obtained his bachelor’s degree in economics) from Long Island University, downtown Brooklyn, where he was a member of the school’s General Honors Program.
Afterwards, he was employed as a Methods Analyst with Prudential Property and Casualty Insurance Company.
Within three years, he was promoted to associate manager of his division, but left to attend Rutgers University School of Law in Camden, NJ.
While attending law school, Judge Cox performed internships at the Brief Review Unit of the New Jersey Appellate Division Clerk’s Office and at the Mercer County Legal Services.
After completing his JD (law) degree, Judge Cox became Staff Counsel to the New Jersey Office of The Ombudsman for The Institutionalized Elderly, an office tasked with oversight of elderly residents of nursing and boarding homes in the state.
He later accepted an offer to return to the Appellate Division Clerk’s Office as a staff attorney.
Soon afterwards, he became the office’s Chief Counsel, supervising the staff attorneys.
He was quickly appointed to the Appellate Division Clerk of Court, the court’s chief administrative officer.
In 2003, then New Jersey Gov. James Mc Greevey appointed Judge Cox to the Workers’ Compensation Bench. He completed assignments in the vicinages of Ocean, Middlesex, Mercer, Burlington and Camden counties.
Subsequently, he became the Supervising Judge of Camden and, eventually, an Administrative Supervisory Judge, overseeing operations in the Camden, Burlington, Salem and Atlantic vicinages.
Judge Cox retired at end-2016, and has returned on recall, currently assigned to the Mercer vicinage.
“May he continue to be a beacon on a hill to shed light to those who will aspire to emulate him!” said Dr. Ambris of Judge Cox.