March 10, 2015
Teacher’s arrest is attempt to stifle expression of views – Opposition Leader

The Leader of the Opposition has accused the government of trying to stifle people’s opinions, after a teacher was arrested last week for a profanity-laced post she allegedly made on social media.

Speaking on ‘The New Times’ radio programme yesterday, Arnhim Eustace said that while he does not condone the use of profanity, he cannot understand the rationale behind the “heavy-handed” manner in which she was apprehended.{{more}}

“Why is this lady being treated like that?” he questioned. “What did she do so wrong to be treated in that manner?”

Eustace pointed out that there have been instances when other public servants have made posts on Facebook that included profanity, but got off with a “rap on the knuckles” or faced no repercussions at all.

Jozette Bibby-Bowens, a teacher at the Bishop’s College Kingstown, was last week arrested by members of the Major Crimes Unit at the secondary school and charged with two counts of obscene publication.

“She could have been called in,” countered Eustace. “This heavy hand means something else… you are trying to stifle people from expressing their views!”

He added: “Others have been accommodated for doing much more that is wrong to society, but she has had the book thrown at her – even prevented from travel.”

Bibby’s post (dated February 17, 2015) criticised an individual named ‘Ralph’ for his response to Team Unity’s win in the recent St Kitts/Nevis general elections – a response that Eustace agreed was “hypocritical”.

He insisted that when persons have committed wrongdoings, the punishment “must apply to everyone equally.”

Eustace, however, said that he would not be distracted by the response to this incident, as there are several more pressing issues affecting society that need to be dealt with.(JSV)