Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has responded to the June 23 letter in which Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace asked seven questions relating to the May 21 resignation of former registrar of the High Court, Tamara Gibson Mark.
In his two-page letter, Eustace said there have been “several instances of official corruption in many areas of government” under the Gonsalves-led Unity Labour Party administration, which came to office on March 28, 2001.
He said the resignation of Gibson-Marks “has brought the discussion on corruption to the top of the public agenda”.
During a 30-minute meeting on May 21, Attorney General Judith Jones-Morgan asked Marks to resign, and has since applied to have her disbarred from practicing law in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
Gibson-Marks left SVG for St. Lucia — where she was born — 90 minutes after the meeting with the Attorney General and has not returned since.
Reports say that some EC$300,000 from an account that Gibson-Marks held in trust is unaccounted for.
Gonsalves has said that the offices of the Commissioner of Police, Director of Audit and the Attorney General are investigating Gibson-Marks.
In his letter, Eustace asked whether Gibson-Marks had submitted false court orders to any local bank to justify the withdrawal of funds and how much had been repaid if money was in fact withdrawn.
He further asked the Prime Minister to say if the former registrar had issued Vincentian birth certificates to persons not born in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and if any Vincentian passport were issued to persons not born in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
But Gonsalves in a 26-page response to Eustace said the Opposition Leader in his letter continued to make “your wild and unfounded allegations of ‘official corruption’” against his government.
Gonsalves defended his government against the accusations of corruption.
He further said that Eustace’s letter has “an underling politically self-serving and hypocritical tone…
“There is already a court proceeding pending against the former Registrar on an application by the Honourable Attorney General, for disbarment. Supporting affidavits have been filed in that matter from which no doubt you may glean answers to your queries through the judicial process. And given the extent of the on-going investigation, criminal proceedings may be issued, but that is a matter for the independent office of the Director of Public Prosecution,” Gonsalves said.
“In those circumstances it is reckless of you to pose your question to me about the former Registrar. You and I hold offices of public importance. Neither of us ought to say anything in public which may prejudice a fair adjudication in any pending or prospective legal proceeding,” Gonsalves further said.
He said his advise to the Opposition Leader and the nation as a whole is “to allow the institutions of state, namely the Attorney General, the Director of Audit, the Commissioner of Police and the Law Courts, to do their work conscientiously, without fear or favour in accordance with the rule of law, including due regard for the individual rights of all concerned and an adherence to the principle of equality before the law”.