Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace says he did not ask “by accident” the questions be posed to Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves in his June 23 letter about the sudden resignation of former Registrar of the High Court Tamara Gibson-Marks.
“I didn’t ask those questions by accident. I feel that this issue is being covered up and it must be [brought] to light. Light must shine heavily on it so that our people understand what is happening. That is an aspect of the corruption that is pervading our society nowadays, and official corruption at that,” Eustace said in his radio programme this week.
Gibson-Marks was asked to resign during a 30-minute meeting with Attorney General Judith Jones-Morgan on May 21.
The St. Lucia born former registrar, who is wife of former Unity Labour Party senator, lawyer Ronald “Ronnie” Marks, left St. Vincent for St. Lucia 90 minute after the meeting and is yet to return.
Gonsalves has said that the Director of Audit, the Commissioner of Police and the Attorney General are investigating Gibson-Marks.
The Attorney General has applied to the court for Gibson-Marks to show cause why she should not be suspended or disbarred from practising law in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
In his letter, Eustace told Gonsalves that to use “disbarment proceedings as your starting point, is to put the cart before the horse”.
“It is critical that you clear the air on these matters and take the necessary legal action, given the current climate and widely expressed concern about corruption in this country,” Eustace said.
During his radio programme, Eustace asked why should any Vincentian “have to worry that the registrar of the High Court has taken decisions which impinge on their lives and cut them off from resources.
“That is the registrar. Why should we be having this in St. Vincent and the Grenadines at the moment?
I asked some questions and I am going to give some answers to those questions in my own way and my own time,” he further said.
In his letter, Eustace also asked Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Legal Affairs, to say whether Gibson-Marks submitted “any false court orders … to any bank in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to justify the withdrawal of funds from accounts held at that bank”, and if so, how many such false court orders were submitted, and the amount of money withdrawn.
“I want to say here that the false court order issued to one of the bank, where over 300 and something thousand dollars was withdrawn from that bank — it is not penny you know; it is 300 and something thousand was withdrawn from the bank. I don’t know how many other banks were involved and how many other banks suffered the same, although I am hearing stories. But I speak when I have the evidence,” Eustace said.
“In one case, it is over 300,000 dollars was taken by a false court order. And I hear something about 130,000 having been paid back. Well, if you paid back, it means that in the first case you should not have taken it. This is a very serious matter and I want the government again to say how many other banks are involved, how many other accounts have been dealt with in that manner and why should we as a people accept that.
“That is why I am not interested in the lady being disbarred. I want her disciplined for what she has done and there is evidence enough to show that she has done something that is wrong and corrupt,” Eustace further said.
Gonsalves, who left St. Vincent on Monday for the CARICOM summit in Antigua, said that day that he will respond to Eustace’s letter after Vincy Mas.