March 6, 2015
There is no specified time or place when an arrest should be made – COP

As far as Commissioner of Police Michael Charles is concerned, members of the Major Crimes Unit (MCU) were just carrying out their job when they arrested a member of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union (SVGTU).

“The Teachers Union has an obligation to their members and I am as commissioner, obligated to the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines. {{more}} The MCU is a department in the police force, just like any other department,” Charles told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday.

Charles was responding to a press release issued by the SVGTU on March 3, titled “Teacher arrest,” in which the union expressed concern about the manner in which graduate teacher, Jozette Bibby was “treated by the law enforcement authorities.”

“The alleged use of the Major Crime Unit, for whatever reason, might be analogous to the proverbial sledgehammer to kill an ant. While the union recognizes free expression and does not condone the violation of the laws of St Vincent and the Grenadines in any form, the reported grounds for and manner in which the member was brought before the law are cause for grave concern,” the release stated.

However, Charles stated that while the MCU made the arrest, it could have been done by any other department of the local constabulary.

“It could have been members of the coastguard who went and arrested her. To say as the press release stated, using the proverbial sledgehammer to kill an ant, that is neither here nor there as far as I am concerned. “

“She is innocent until proven guilty and in my view, if they are taking issues with the police for having a unit that went to make an arrest, they should take issue with their member,” Charles told SEARCHLIGHT.

“It is amazing, when people have functions, they do not want the ordinary police, but they request a Black Squad or SSU officers, but it is the same thing. It doesn’t matter. It could have been a commissioner who went to the school to bring her in.”

Charles also noted that there is no specified time or place when an arrest should be made.

On Monday, March 2, Jozette Bibby, a member of the SVGTU and a teacher at the Bishop’s College Kingstown was arrested and charged with two counts of obscene publication for posts she is alleged to have made on social networking site Facebook, on Tuesday, February 17, 2015.

When she appeared in court on Tuesday, Bibby pleaded not guilty to both charges. She will reappear on March 17 for hearing.