T&T armless lawyer says integrity is everything

(Trinidad Guardian) Attorney Veera Bhajan, who was born without arms, walked away from her job at the Office of the Attorney General last November after just five days. She felt her integrity was being compromised. Bhajan, 23, made the statement yesterday before 250 students at the second day of the Atlantic/Ministry of Sport Leadership Symposium at the Cascadia Hotel, St Ann’s.

According to the UWI, Cave Hill, Barbados graduate, she began working at the office after earning her Bachelor of Laws degree in May last year, originally dealing with mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. After being presented to the Bar by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan on October 28, she started work as an attorney the next Monday.

By the end of the working week, however, she decided to resign. She told the students: “It was all excitement when I started because it was my first real job. “I had a vision in my brain since I was six years old that I wanted to be an attorney-at-law and it never went away, no matter what was thrown at me. “So I went to work on Monday and left the job on the Friday.

“I will say this to you, wherever you go in life and you feel that your character and your integrity are being taken away from you in some way or the other, I say walk away. “There is nothing more important than your character and integrity.” Bhajan has yet to find employment as an attorney in the months since resigning, though she continues to make appearances as a motivational speaker.

She added: “That was a major setback for me. When I left I had no job in place, no prospects but I just thought to myself that I could do better and that there was something out there better for me. “My Plan A didn’t work out and I am still trying to find a Plan B. It will come to me in time. Regardless of the circumstances I have faced, I have never thought about giving up.”

Several students were moved to tears during Bhajan’s speech, which also included anecdotes about teaching herself to write, brush her teeth and feed herself with her toes as well as her struggle to pass her CAPE examinations after missing three months of school because of a car accident.

She said her condition had not deterred her from striving for her goals and encouraged the students to adopt a similar attitude. She added: “I may not have been blessed with arms but I am blessed with a brain and feet. I have all my senses. I have a family and I have a God that loves me and will never fail me.

“I believe there are persons out there with both arms who are more disabled than I am. A bad attitude is the only real disability.” Bhajan first gained national attention in 1999 when she placed within the country’s top 100 students in the Common Entrance Exams, earning a place at St Augustine Girls High School.

Among her other accolades include winning the Humming Bird Silver Medal in 2005, a state scholarship in 2007 and the Express Individual of the Year Award in 2009.

 

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