Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has said that there is nothing wrong with Attorney General Judith Jones-Morgan applying to have former registrar of the High Court Tamara Gibson-Marks disbarred, even as an investigation against her is incomplete.
“The law allows for any number of processes and we will see whether any of those other processes emerge from the workings of the state institutions. It’s as simple as that,” Gonsalves said at a press conference on Monday.
The Director of Audit, Commissioner of Police and the Attorney General are investigating Gibson-Marks, who resigned on May 21.
Gonsalves said that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution has also been briefed.
Last month, the Attorney General applied to the court for Gibson-Marks to show cause why she should not be suspended or disbarred from practising law in St. Vincent.
Gonsalves said on Monday that the Director of Audit had told him a few days earlier that they are making good progress and in addition to files from the Registry, “they are getting information elsewhere”.
The Prime Minister, who is also Minister of Legal Affairs, further said Commissioner of Police Michael Charles has assigned a senior investigator to the case and that detective “is in touch with the other authorities”.
The Attorney General has also successfully applied to have her application sealed, which means that it is not accessible by the public.
When asked why this was done, Gonsalves said, “I haven’t seen her application for the sealing of the file,” adding that Jones-Morgan cannot seal the file herself, but has to apply to the court to have it done.
He said that given the nature of the information, the court can grant such an application because it doesn’t want anything to prejudice, unduly, the hearing of the matter.
Gonsalves further pointed out that it is not the first time in the Commonwealth or in St. Vincent and the Grenadines that an application has been sealed.
He further said that when the Attorney General makes these applications, he doesn’t ask to see the reasons.
“Because the less I know about those things, the better it is for me. I allow the institutions of the state to work,” Gonsalves said.
He further said he would expect a criminal investigation to be of a different nature than a disbarment proceeding – “if ever criminal proceedings are reached…
“The Director of Audit, she just wants to get the facts; she is looking at what these facts are,” Gonsalves said.
“I think the application of the Attorney General, when it is heard by the court will tell us, but, for my part, I reiterate, I await, like everybody else, the outcome of the investigations and the actions of the appropriate authorities,” Gonsalves further said.
Gibson-Marks was born in St. Lucia and left St. Vincent for her home country 90 minutes after she resigned on May 21, following a 30-minute meeting with the Attorney General.
Sources have told I-Witness News that some EC$300,000 is unaccounted for from a bank account that Gibson-Marks held in trust.
Asked what he would say to citizens who feel there are two sets of proceedings based on one social status, Gonsalves said:
“No, I wouldn’t say that. I would say that there is a process. There have been cases before where persons have been accused of a number of different things and the investigation would go on for some time.
“This is not the first time that you have had an investigation. This is a matter which involves the unearthing of a number of facts. Some matters are more straightforward in concluding an investigation, others are more involved,” Gonsalves said.