July 4, 2014

Registry staffers dumbfounded, shocked police were called in

Some members of staff of the High Court and Registry are said to have been “shocked and dumbfounded” that police officers were called to their office on Tuesday, the last day on the job for eight members of staff.{{more}}

According to a source, who spoke to SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday, on the condition of anonymity, at about 3:45 p.m., a police officer dressed in a white and black uniform came through the door, which the source said, is not an unusual occurrence.

“We didn’t take it as anything. When we saw the police go into the registrar acting office, that’s when … we like, okay, something is up.”

The source said acting registrar Lekeicha Caesar-Toney then left her office with the police officer and went to an office adjacent to hers, where she stayed for about a minute.

While Caesar-Toney was in the other office, the police officer stood outside, the source said.

“She came back out, then stood up by the area where the receptionist usually sits, spoke briefly and then the police officer went with her outside. All this time, mind you, we were in awe because we now saying, okay did that really happen, is it what we are thinking, that she actually called a police escort to leave the building, or is it that serious, that is what we were thinking to ourselves.

“She left, and we were all shocked there, dumbfounded,” the source said.

“The way we interpreted it is that she called an officer to escort her from the building. That is the way we saw it, because the officer walked behind her as she left the office.

“We were saying that this has never happened before. There are others who worked under several other registrars and it has never happened. That is why we were all surprised that she would have done such. Because that’s what it looked like.”

The source said the police officer did not escort the acting registrar further than down the stairs of the building, because when they looked through the windows, Caesar-Toney was seen walking by herself to her vehicle, which was parked across the road in the yard of the old court house.

“The police officer then came back upstairs by himself. He went directly to her (Caesar-Toney’s) office, opened the door, looked around the office, came back out, tuned a knob on the door and locked the office.

“So that’s when we realised the police really was guarding her while she left the office to the door,” the source further stated.

The police officer then stood in an area of the general office, the source said.

According to the source, persons started to say, “Wow, no, no, no, this didn’t happen…”

The staff member said they began packing their bags to leave, because they did not want to be part of the “confusion, or whatever it was that was happening.”

About five minutes after, five other police officers joined the officer who was standing guard, the source said.

“These officers were all dressed in black and white and grey and black. When they came into the area of the general office, they didn’t say anything to us. If there was a disturbance, they didn’t try to calm us. They asked us no questions, they said nothing to us,” the source disclosed.

The source said by then, it was about 3:55 or 4:00 and people started to leave, as they could not understand what was happening.

One person then asked the police why they were there, and the police replied that they were sent on duty there.

“He said they were securing the building and ensuring that staff leave the office by quarter past four.”

The police officer was asked what about the cleaner as she leaves long after 4 p.m., to which he replied that the office would not be cleaned that day, the source said.

The source said after staff members left the office, the police officers locked the door of the office and the main door for the building and left.

Commissioner of Police Michael Charles told SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday that a police officer attached to the Registry department called for “back up” during “a situation” that was taking place at the Registry.

Charles said he did not know what the “situation” was, but a senior government official told SEARCHLIGHT that the officers were called to secure the building and because some members of staff had been disruptive earlier that day.

Tuesday was the last day on the job at the High Court and Registry for eight persons who have been transferred or re-assigned to other government departments, effective July 2.

The transfers come exactly six weeks after former High Court Registrar Tamara Gibson-Marks was asked to resign by Attorney General Judith Jones Morgan.

According to Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, the Director of Audit, the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Police are “actively seized” of the matter and have launched an investigation into the matters leading up to Gibson-Marks’ exit.