Jozette Bibby-Bowen, the teacher who was on Monday slapped with two “obscene writing” charges in connection with posts she allegedly made on Facebook was on Thursday suspended from duties on half pay.
She was also restricted from leaving St. Vincent and the Grenadines without the permission of the Public Service Commission
Bibby-Bowen was informed of her suspension via a “confidential” letter from Chief Personnel Officer, Corinne Gonsalves.
Gonsalves, in her letter, told Bibby-Bowen that she has been instructed by the Public Service Commission to inform the teacher “that, in view of the criminal proceedings which have been instituted against you, you should be interdicted from your duties.
“Accordingly, you are hereby interdicted from your duties as a Teacher V, St. Clair Dacon Secondary School, assigned to the Bishop’s College, Kingstown, Ministry of Education on half salary with immediate effect, in accordance with Sec 45(3) of the Public Service Commission Regulations, Cap 10, Laws of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Revised Edition, 2009,” Gonsalves wrote.
“Further, pursuant to Sec 45(5) of the Public Service Commission Regulations, you are restricted from leaving the state without the permission of the Public Service Commission,” the letter said.
Bibby-Bowen, who teaches Forms 2 to 5 the subjects of information technology, electronic document preparation and management and accounting, pleaded not guilty to two charges of obscene publication when she appeared before a magistrate in Kingstown on Tuesday.
The prosecution suggested that station bail, which was granted on Monday, be continued and the Magistrate set March 17 for the next court appearance.
The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union (SVGTU) on Tuesday expressed “serious concern” about the manner in which teacher Bibby-Bowens was treated by law enforcement authorities when she was arrested in the staff room of Bishop’s College on Monday.
“The alleged use of the Major Crime Unit, for whatever reason, might be analogous to the proverbial sledgehammer to kill an ant,” Wendy Bynoe, public relations officer of the union said.
The Major Crime Unit, which conducted the investigation that led to the charges being brought against Bibby-Bowens, is more commonly associated with homicide investigations.
“While the union recognises free expression and does not condone the violation of the laws of St Vincent and the Grenadines in any form, the reported grounds for and manner in which the member was brought before the law are cause for grave concern,” Bynoe said in the statement.
“The SVGTU stands resolute in support of the member since the law presumes innocent until proven guilty. In the meantime, we continue to support members’ right to continue to share their views on national issues,” Bynoe said.