A former colleague of Gender Affairs Ministry employee Cheryl Miller yesterday broke down and cried outside the Parliament, protesting against the way Miller was taken away from her job to the St Ann's Psychiatric Hospital. Catherine Mitchell, a retired employee of the Ministry of Gender Affairs, was among a group of Miller's colleagues who staged a protest at noon outside Parliament against the treatment of Miller.
Miller was reportedly taken away from her office by mental health workers and committed to the hospital two weeks ago. She remains at the institution. Miller's family has called for answers on the situation after reports that Miller had had an "outburst" with a senior ministry official after Miller complained of being unfairly targeted.
Miller's distraught colleague Mitchell and others from Gender Affairs and other ministries, including Sport, where Miller had previously worked, made their views known via placards and other statements yesterday. Mitchell, sitting on one of the Parliament borders, held her head in her hands and cried at length.
Mitchell said she had worked with Miller at the Sport Ministry for almost ten years. "That girl Cheryl touched my heart," Mitchell sobbed as she was consoled by another colleague. Anthony Fortune, another ministry employee, said other ministry workers were now worried about what they can do to save themselves.
Fortune said, "If there was some kind of senior people here, and senior people at St Ann's bypass all the legal protocol to admit Cheryl Miller to the St Ann's Hospital, these people must be aware their jobs are in danger." Fortune added, "We're also concerned about Cheryl's welfare in St Ann's. They need to get her out of there before the drugs they are giving her by force damage her. We don't know what kind of drugs they're administering to her."
Alverna Cameron, who said she was Miller's supervisor at the Sport Ministry for two years at one time, added, "You have to do things according to protocol and the correct procedure, and the procedure was not followed." Cameron said she was continuing to work at her ministry in the normal way, but she felt Miller's colleagues at other ministries, including Gender Affairs, should take stronger action.
On Tuesday, Gender Affairs Minister Verna St Rose-Greaves, responding to a note from the T&T Guardian during the Senate sitting, said she would investigate, since it was her ministry.