March 10, 2015
Teacher put on show at time of arrest – Officer

Sergeant Atland Browne, a member of the Major Crimes Unit (MCU), the branch of the police force that effected the arrest of school-teacher Jozette Bibby-Bowens last week, says that Bibby-Bowens “put on a show” at the time of her arrest.

Speaking on the ‘Hitz Talk’ programme on Hitz 103.7, on Sunday, March 8, {{more}}Browne said police officers went to the Bishop’s College Kingstown where Bibby-Bowens works and asked her to accompany them back to the Central Police Station.

“The police went to the school in peace and calm and invited the individual back to the Central Police Station, but she put on a show. That is the crux of the matter here. They went in peace and calm. I can say that. She was invited to accompany the police to the police station, but she did not do that,” Browne said during the panel discussion, hosted by attorney Israel Bruce.

The panel also included Queen’s Counsel Bertram Commissiong, president of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union (SVGTU) Oswald Robinson and Human Resource specialist Noel Dixon.

The programme touched on topics related to the Bibby-Bowens’ recent arrest and the use of profanity in society.

Browne did not elaborate about “the show” put on by Bibby-Browne, but said the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) is one that works under instructions.

“Once someone contravenes the law and instructions are there to investigate the matter, we will do that and do it to the best of our knowledge and ability,” Browne said.

“Our police force is one that investigates. In our police force, we have prosecutors in the system and we follow directives,” Browne explained.

Browne said while persons have freedom of expression, it comes with responsibility. Making it clear that the police are not targeting any particular group, the police officer said that even members of the local constabulary and other public servants have been charged in the past for various offences.

Meanwhile, president of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teacher Union (SVGTU) Oswald Robinson said as a trade union, they stand resolute with their members, noting that they do not condone anything that is wrong.

He encouraged members of the union to remain focussed and resolute and made it clear that the SVGTU is not engaged in a war against the police force, adding that they are their “brothers and sisters.”

“Matter of fact, we work very closely to advance the cause of socio-economic justice. When we bargain, all the workers benefit… But we must never forget that the trade union has a right to protect its membership. Whenever somebody is alleged of something, the trade union has a role to play,” Robinson said.

“Today, the Teachers Union continue to struggle for freedom of expression… More and more we are seeing teachers intimidated, threatened and as a trade union, we can’t just sit back and just fold its arms, otherwise we become null and void.

“As a union we are committed to fighting a good warfare for our members, for democracy in St Vincent and Grenadines,” Robinson declared.

On Monday, March 2, Bibby-Bowens, a Belmont resident, was arrested and charged with two counts of obscene publication for posts she allegedly made on social networking site Facebook, on Tuesday, February 17, 2015.

Bibby-Bowens was charged under Section 284 (1) (a), chapter 171 of the Revised Edition of the laws of St Vincent and the Grenadines. Each offence carries a maximum penalty of nine months in prison.

She was also suspended from her job with half pay by the Public Service Commissions Department.

When she appeared at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on March 3, Bibby-Bowens pleaded not guilty to the charges. Hearing of the matter is set for March 17.(KW)