The educator against whom two obscene writing charges were dropped in April 2015 wants to know why her name was up to Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016 on a list of persons not allowed to leave St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Jozette Bibby-Bowen was initially prevented from leaving the country on Tuesday as immigration officials said there was a stop order against her name, although she had written permission from the Public Service Commission to leave.
Bibby-Bowen told iWitness News that she does not know of a court ever ordering that a stop order be issued for her.
She said that she was clearing with immigrations at the E.T. Joshua Airport when the immigration officer told her that there was a stop order against her name
Bibby-Bowen said she asked when the stop order was issued but the Immigration officer said she couldn’t disclose that and had to speak to her supervisor
“Bear in mind, I had a permission to leave the state slip that I gave to her,” Bibby-Bowen told iWitness News.
Because she is a public servant, Bibby-Bowen has to obtain permission to leave the country.
She told iWitness News that the immigration officer went and spoke to a supervisor, who told her (Bibby-Bowen) that she had to wait.
The supervisor came and said the name is showing up and was on the list from last year, Bibby-Bowen told iWitness News.
“I told her I didn’t even know my name was there from last year because a magistrate never ordered that my [travel] documents be taken away or that my name be put on any stop anything, so I didn’t know what it was about,” Bibby-Bowen told iWitness News.
“He (immigration supervisor) told me he was just doing his job; he is caught in the crossfire so he would check it out and he would get back to me,” she further told iWitness News.
Bibby-Bowen said the immigration supervisor got back to her and told her she could leave. She was able to board her flight because it was delayed in departing the airport.
“But I was totally embarrassed cause everyone was looking at me as if I was a criminal,” Bibby-Bowen told iWitness News of her experience.
She further said she was “angry and frustrated”.
“How can I be on a stop list when it was never sanctioned by the courts or my travel documents were never taken away,” she said.
Bibby-Bowen was arrested on March 2, 2015 and charged in connection with posts she allegedly made on the social networking website, Facebook.
In response, the PSC suspended her from duty on half pay. Further, pursuant to Section 45(5) of the Public Service Commission Regulations, she was restricted from leaving the state without the permission of the Public Service Commission.
Bibby-Bowen, however, told iWitness News that the stop order at the airport was different, in that she was not being allowed to leave the country, although she had written permission from the PSC.
Bibby-Bowen was arrested at Bishop’s College Kingstown, where she taught Forms 2 to 5 the subjects of information technology, electronic document preparation and management and accounting.
She pleaded not guilty to the charges when she appeared in court.
But on April 15, 2015, one day before she was due to reappear in court, Director of Public Prosecution, Colin Williams, discontinued the charged.
The DPP, in keeping with his constitutional privileges, did not give any reasons for his decision.
But Kay Bacchus-Browne, one of the lawyers who represented Bibby-Bowen, restated to iWitness News the defence’s accusation that the state had no reason to arrest or prosecute their client.
“They nolle prosequi it … No reason was given, but I suspect the reason is that they simply have no evidence at all, which is what we said from the beginning,” Bacchus-Browne said then.
“… they have put her through much embarrassment, loss of income. They have had her arrested, which now amounts to false arrest, false imprisonment and now they just withdraw without giving any reason at all,” Bacchus-Browne said.
Bibby-Bowen was suspended from the classroom and placed on half salary pending the outcome of the case but was later transferred to the Adult Education Unit.