Independence Banner Strip

Connect with WINN FM

Unit C24, The Sands Complex
Newtown Bay Road, Basseterre, St. Kitts, W.I.
Download Programme Schedule

Why was Registrar sent on leave?

Registrar of the High Court Janine Harris-Lake

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN):  Days after news surfaced that High Court Registrar Janine Harris-Lake has been asked by the Attorney General’s Chambers to almost immediately proceed on more than 60 days accrued vacation leave, the public faces two contrasting tales.

Is it that the government is concerned about Mrs. Janine Harris -Lake’s welfare, and feels she needs a much deserved break from her official duties, almost right away? Or is it that Mrs. Harris- Lake has drawn the ire of government and the accrued leave option proves an attractive mechanism to get her to hand over her keys until December, at least in the first instance?

As this story unfolds in the coming days the truth may draw closer but for now the jury is out. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition People’s Action Movement Eugene Hamilton argues that the letter to the Registrar amounts to disciplinary action.

“…Written on the 17th to tell her go on vacation on the 20th, that is disciplinary action and to tell her to hand over the keys...”

He argues that Section 83 of the St. Kitts and Nevis Constitution states that the Registrar can only be disciplined on the advice of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission headed by the Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.

Former Government Minister Dwyer Astaphan, now a major force in the civic group Operation Rescue, that has seemingly devoted itself to seeing the back of Prime Minister Denzil Douglas, brought the issue to the public’s attention in an article published Friday September 20, entitled “30 Years.”

He wrote: “Just two days ago, the Registrar of the Supreme Court, Mrs. Janine Harris-Lake, who happens to be the sister of Dr. Timothy Harris, was suddenly and without notice handed a letter instructing her to proceed on Friday, September 20, 2013, to take her 62 days’ leave. That’s tomorrow.”

Astaphan noted that, “While the Registrar is paid by the Government and is part of the public service, the post is also a vital one in the judicial system, and its holder has critical responsibilities to the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and to the Chief Justice.”

And then he posed questions: “Is this the way the holder of this post, is this the way the judiciary, is treated? Is it an attempt to embarrass the lady or to discipline her? If the latter, did someone forget to read Section 83 of our Constitution? Might the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court be also embarrassed and troubled by this action by the Government? “Is this evidence of an all out attack on the judicial arm of Government?”

There is no official statement from the government as of Sunday and the ruling St. Kitts Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) on the matter but SKNLP spokesman Austin Edinborough commenting on the issue on WINN FM’s Inside the News, on Saturday, scoffed at the charge of disciplinary action against the Registrar.

“There is no disciplinary action within the letter that was sent or alleged to have been sent …the Registrar was asked to take leave accrued and that is an administrative matter handled by the country,” said the SKNLP spokesman.

“That has nothing to do with her being terminated or transferred that is leave that she must take at some point,” Edinborough asserted.

WINN’s newsroom confirmed over the weekend that that Registrar had been advised by the Attorney-General’s Chambers to proceed on 64 days vacation leave effective September 20 to December 17, 2013. The Registrar received correspondence on September 17, asking that she put in place arrangements on Wednesday September 18, to bring all outstanding legal matters to the attention of Minister of Justice Patrice Nisbett and all administrative matters to the attention of the permanent secretary of Attorney General Jason Hamilton’s Chambers.

Mrs. Harris–Lake was also instructed to hand over all department keys in her possession to the Permanent Secretary.

It is also our understanding that Mrs. Harris- Lake was asked to attend a weekend meeting to discuss the controversial issue.

Add comment

Security code

Top Local Stories

Most Read - October 2015

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
Prev Next

Douglas Blames Government for Death of Former Minister's Wife

Friday 9th October, 2015 Hits:2091

Ken Richards

Former Crown Counsel Appointed Acting DPP

Friday 2nd October, 2015 Hits:1925

Toni Frederick

Police charged for shooting security guard

Thursday 1st October, 2015 Hits:1697

Toni Frederick

Man killed during early morning drug bust in Conaree

Thursday 1st October, 2015 Hits:1556

Toni Frederick

Maitland: All Former Sugar Workers Were Eligible For Compensation

Sunday 4th October, 2015 Hits:1147

Toni Frederick

Arrest in Armed Robbery of Craddock Rd Businessman

Tuesday 6th October, 2015 Hits:1125

Toni Frederick

Brantley defends government's diplomatic appointments

Monday 5th October, 2015 Hits:1080

Toni Frederick

Forensic Evidence Taken Overseas for Analysis in Golf Course Assault

Tuesday 6th October, 2015 Hits:906

Toni Frederick

Former Top Cop Challenges Police Tint Removal Practice

Sunday 11th October, 2015 Hits:817

Toni Frederick

Astaphan Calls on Government to Clean up Immigration "Mess"

Wednesday 7th October, 2015 Hits:777

Ken Richards

More Dire Climate Change Warnings

Thursday 8th October, 2015 Hits:753

Ken Richards

UN Secretary General "Shocked" By Charges Against John Ashe

Thursday 8th October, 2015 Hits:730

Ken Richards

Powered by Spearhead Software Labs Joomla Facebook Like Button


 -  WINN FM Evening News - 11th October, 2015

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 - The Bigger Picture with Ken Richards October 11th, 2015

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


The Operating Room 6th October, 2015

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.