Dr. Reginald Lobosky
A tribute by Keith Thompson
“It was the summer of 1990 that I finished my first semester of law school in England at Middlesex University. I applied for summer employment with several firms and was fortunate enough to be accepted at Higgs & Johnson,” Keith Thompson says as he recalls the opportunity that would lead to his first encounter with Reginald Lobosky.
Reginald Lobosky was many things to many people, as was his talent as a human being. He was a former chairman of the United Bahamian Party, a past president of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, the first president of Civil Society Bahamas (CSB), and partner in well-renowned Shirley Street law firm Harry B. Sands, Lobosky & Company. For Keith Thompson, however, he took on a more personal role: mentor and motivator. Many people knew Reg as a man frequently engaged in politics, hard work, and study – a reputation Keith attests to. But as his apprentice, Keith also became privy to another side of Reg: his humanitarian nature.
The recently sworn-in Vice President of the Bahamas Industrial Tribunal fondly shares how his internship at Higgs & Johnson introduced him to the man who would become like a father to him.
How it began:
“Initially I was assigned to Dr. Earl Cash, whose concentration was trust law. His office was upstairs, and after about a week I wandered downstairs and walked past Mr. Lobosky’s office and saw him sitting in there by himself.
“I had a full view of the office and there was a desk at the back. I poked my head in and said, ‘Would you have anything for me to do? I’m a summer student with Dr. Cash but I’m finished with what he assigned me.’ He looked up and said, ‘You like to work?’ And I said, ‘Of course I do.’”
Learning the trade (and the man):
After that day, Keith Thompson never returned upstairs. Reginald Lobosky kept him closer than his own shadow.
“He told me, ‘You see that desk right at the back there? That’s going to be your desk.’
“Reg took me under his wing and everywhere he went, I went. He taught me a lot about discipline in the legal environment, and the ethics of the profession, and how to always strive for the highest standard possible, and to be fair and just.”
Underneath Reg’s fold was the optimal vantage point for Keith to witness the compassion, generosity, and nurturing personality of his mentor.
“There was a real humane side to him,” Keith says. “Knowing that I had come out of full time employment, he’d ask me about how I was making it, how I was getting along. He was very generous and caring.”
Throughout his life Reg extended his kindness across various platforms as well as to many individuals. Aside from Keith, he was also a sage to the likes of Cathy Johnson-Hassan, Oscar Johnson Jr., and young man by the name of Keith Cargill… but none were as close to Mr. Lobosky as Keith Thompson – “He had a nickname for me. Him and Mrs. Lobosky, they always called me ‘Stretch,’ because I am so tall.”
Reg Lobosky was a consistent sponsor and supporter of numerous charitable causes, his favourite being the Salvation Army.
“He was always concerned about the wellbeing of other people, and in my presence I would see him show that – firstly, financially, to people that were not so fortunate.
“Quite often when we had nothing in the office to do, he’d say, ‘Keith, come. Let’s go take a drive,’ and we’d drive around the town, out west and so forth, and… I got to see a real humane side to him. He was always giving, but his support wasn’t just financial.”
A system of support:
Reg’s role in Keith’s life mirrored parental support and encouragement.
“I can tell that he really, really took me as a son. He was very protective and very involved in my success,” Keith reveals. “Even though I think he was a little reluctant to let me fly off on my own, he assigned me my first case after I had completed all of my studies and was called to the bar.
“At the time he had started to fall into ill-health. I remember I was on my feet at the Industrial Tribunal in Oakes Field, conducting the case for the respondent. I looked around at the back of the room and there he was sitting down observing me. I said, ‘What are you doing here?’ and he said, ‘Well, I just had to see how you were coming along.’ And he was quite pleased with the way I dealt with the case, and of course, we were successful in winning the case for our client. It was the very first case that I did on my own.”
Keith dotingly acknowledges the hand Reg Lobosky played in his accomplishments.
“It started when I was still in school. He made sure I got the materials that I needed to study. As a student I received the award for Employment Law as the top person in Mr. Dave Louis’ Employment class at Middlesex University. But being the top student, I couldn’t have done it without gaining the knowledge that I had from Reg.
“I couldn’t pay for the kind of training that Mr. Lobosky would’ve given me, and also the knowledge that I got from him in the area of Employment Law and Industrial Relations. So much so that I ended up specializing in it and winning that award. I must credit him with that, because it was his speciality, and he imparted all of the knowledge that he had to me.”
A lasting memory:
“Eventually he and Sarah, his wife, left Higgs & Johnson and went off on their own, and I went with them. They started their own firm – Lobosky & Lobosky. And I facilitated the purchase of their very first office building,” Keith proudly recollects.
“After about two years I got an offer that I couldn’t refuse with Sunshine Holdings Ltd. to become their in-house legal counsel, and so I left. But I always stayed in touch with Mr. and Mrs. Lobosky. I guess I could say that I really looked at them as my surrogate parents – that’s how close we were.”
Keith’s warm memories of Reginald Lobosky paint a picture of the great impact he had both on him personally, as a mentor, and also to the society at large as an active citizen.
“Mr. Lobosky contributed so much to the Bahamian society. This was his nature, his real self.
“I don’t know if they still do it, but Higgs & Johnson started the ‘Teacher of the Year Award,’ and he was the partner that came up with that idea – to reward teachers that are extraordinary.
“He really, really did a hell of a lot for the Bahamian community. He was always a champion for Bahamian people.”
Keith Thompson is the Vice-President of the Bahamas Industrial Tribunal. He was employed at Lobosky and Lobosky as an Associate and General Legal Counsel at Arawak Homes and Sunshine Holdings Limited. He obtained a LLB Degree 2nd Class from Upper Middlesex University, London, England and a Certificate of Legal Education from Norman Manley Law School in Kingston, Jamaica. From 1976 to 1990, he served as a teacher and Dean of Students at Aquinas College and from 1990 to 1997 he was a Law Student and Associate at the law firm of Higgs and Johnson. He serves as the organist of St. Bedes Roman Catholic Church.