A group of concern citizens has banded together using social media to highlight what they have described as slow progress in the ongoing court battle involving former Executive Secretary of the Board of Education (BoE) Gisele Isaac and the government of Antigua and Barbuda.
They are contending that Isaac is unable to travel because her travel documents were seized since her arrest for fraud in 2015 and the matters remain unresolved.
Added to that, she is still required to sign in at the Parham Police Station twice a week.
Isaac, who was suspended from the BoE on July 18, 2014 and later allegedly constructively dismissed, then charged a year later has several outstanding matters before the courts, some criminal and others civil.
The group supporting her has since launched am “I am standing with Gisele Campaign,” encouraging social media users to post a photograph of themselves with Isaac – and to use it as their profile picture to bring awareness to the matter.
Speaking on the issue, Barbara Arrindell, one of the main organisers of the online campaign, stated that Isaac is simply awaiting her day in court, or for those who filed the charges against her to move the process along so that she can move on.
“We are simply stating [that you] give her her day in court. She is not able to travel on her own, and people who are suspected of more serious matters have been allowed to go free while this daughter of the soil is being victimised,” Arrindell said.
Isaac told OBSERVER media that the government of Antigua and Barbuda has filed three cases against her.
The first involved a contract that was awarded to bailiff Algernon “Serpent” Watts by the BoE which led to their arrest in June 2015. She said the matter against her was sent to the High Court in September 2016. While, it was dismissed against Watts that same year.
The second case was for a salary adjustment given by the board of directors in 2004 under the United Progressive Party (UPP) administration and ratified by the Cabinet in 2005.
“I was arrested in December 2015, that case was sent to the High Court in June 2016. The third case involved salary increases authorised by the Minister of Education in line with the managers’ contract between 2009 and 2014. I was arrested in May 2016 and that was sent to the High Court in early 2017.”
“Nothing has been done since the Magistrate Court sent my cases to the High Court; all are pending. Meanwhile, for more than three years I have been signing in at the police station and the court is holding $60,000 in cash as my bond. I want justice, I want my day in court,” Isaac lamented.
The former executive secretary of the BoE mounted her own legal challenge in response to the three cases brought against her by the government.
She explained that one of the cases was filed against the BoE, Labour Minister Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin and Education Minister Michael Browne, after the statutory corporation failed to honour a recommendation by the Labour Commissioner that determined that she was constructively dismissed.
“They lost four times – most recently at the Privy Council which ruled that I was to be given a date for my case and my attorney’s costs are to be paid. That was May 23, up to now, Dorsett [the government’s attorney] has refused to file the affidavits on the behalf of Browne and Michael and my attorney has not received a cent,” Isaac said.
Dr. David Dorsett however, has since stated that the government is now awaiting a decision from the Industrial Court, and once that ruling comes out, the way forward will be very clear.