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State authorities in St. Vincent & the Grenadines are continuing their investigation against St. Lucian-born Tamara Gibson-Marks, who was asked to resign from the post of registrar of the High Court over a month ago by St. Vincent’s Attorney General Judith Jones-Morgan in relation to suspected financial irregularities.
Prime Minister of St. Vincent & the Grenadines Ralph Gonsalves gave an update on the matter at a press conference on Monday, stating that the director of audit, police commissioner, and attorney general are involved in the investigation of Gibson-Marks.
“That is a very significant development. That process will be managed by the attorney general and the law courts in the normal way that any of these proceedings are carried out,” Gonsalves was quoted as saying by I-Witness News.
Gonsalves told journalists at the news conference that the former registrar left St. Vincent for St. Lucia 90 minutes after the meeting with the attorney general.
According to I-Witness News, iwnsvg.com, the attorney general has since filed an application for Gibson-Marks “to show cause why she should not be suspended or barred from practising law in St. Vincent”.
Gibson-Marks, the wife of lawyer Ronald “Ronnie” Marks – a former senator for the Gonsalves-led Unity Labour Party – was reportedly asked to resign on May 21 during a half-hour meeting with Jones-Morgan.
I-Witness News reported that St. Vincent’s Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace has written to Prime Minister Gonsalves about Gibson-Marks.
Gonsalves said Eustace asked a lot of specific questions.
“Now, it will be wholly improper for me, even if I have that information, to speak about it. The relevant authorities will address those matters,” Gonsalves said at the news conference.
According to I-Witness News, Gonsalves said the attorney general “has submitted an affidavit in court supporting the application for disbarment, and the acting registrar has done the same”.
“Well wait until those matters are being ventilated inside of the court. You will get your answers,” Gonsalves was quoted by the online news medium as saying.
I-Witness News further reported that, “The attorney general has successfully applied to the court to have her claim against Gibson-Marks sealed, meaning that the public cannot access the documents.”
The online newspaper added that Gonsalves said he has taken a decision not to speak on any fact or alleged facts in the case “because it may prejudice a fair trial of the proceeding”.
I-Witness reported that Gonsalves gave details of the timeline surrounding the resignation of Gibson-Marks. See the remainder of their article below:
He said the Attorney General and a senior crown counsel met with Gibson-marks from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. on May 21, when the resignation was demanded.
He said Gibson-Marks sent the resignation letter, which was transmitted to the Chief Justice on morning of May 22.
Gonsalves said he can talk about those things because they will not prejudice any proceeding.
He further responded to talks that his government allowed Gibson-Marks to slip away to go to St. Lucia.
Gonsalves said that he knows that the offices of the Attorney General, the Director of Audit and the Commissioner of Police COP were all contacted that same day to discuss how they are going to proceed.
Gonsalves further said he was told Commissioner of Police Michael Charles contacted the Chief Immigration officer that same day – May 21.
But the police chief has told I-Witness News previously that his office was notified of the development on May 22.
By 2:30 p.m. on May 21 – 90 minutes after Gibson-Marks’ meeting with the Attorney General – she left St. Vincent, Gonsalves said.
“How can you hold the Commissioner of Police or the Chief Immigration Officer or the Attorney General or the Office of the Prime Minister responsible in the circumstances?” Gonsalves said.
Regarding his refusal to give more in-depth information on the investigation, Gonsalves pointed to the recent development in the United Kingdom, where a judge rebuke Prime Minister David Cameron after Cameron’s comments nearly led to the collapse of the remainder of a case against his former spin doctor, Andy Coulson.
“Why is it that the Leader of the Opposition wants to try a case in public? When a person of public importance speaks to an issue that is before the court and on the facts that is before the court, it has the potential to prejudice it.
“If I were to say what the leader of the Opposition wants me to say and to make pronouncements on the guilt or innocence of the former registrar and I make a pronouncement on guilt, which I am not doing or cannot do, when the trial comes a few months hence — if there is a trial — and the lawyer were to make a motion in relation to the inability of a fair trial because a person of public importance, to wit the Prime Minister, had already prejudiced the particular case; what they will then say, ‘Ralph is an experienced lawyer and he ought to have know this and he set it up so to have that particular result’,” Gonsalves said.
“The former registrar of the High Court is entitled to a presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial.” Those are constitutional rights,” Gonsalves further said, adding, “Let the institutions of state do their work.”