Slave 2

One of the caged inmates found at the facility.

The pastor detained by police in connection with the “rescue” of 69 men and women on Wednesday, appeared before a Parliament Joint Select Committee (JSC) in June 2016.

The pastor told the JSC members that he had over 25 years’ experience in working with socially displaced people in Trinidad and Tobago.

He said he rescued people on the streets and took them to his facility in Arouca.

“I pick them up on the streets, bring them by me, bathe them, clean them. Some of them were wounded with maggots and worms and rejected by the hospital at times. So I have a great experience working with them as time go alone. I work with about 200 people under the Ministry of Social Development and my experience was not too nice,” he said.

The pastor, who received a subvention from the ministry, said he had “conquered” stumbling blocks to show the project was successful.

Arouca

One of the caged inmates found at the facility.

The rehabilitated persons, he said, were taken to the Piparo Empowerment Centre.

The pastor said he was hurt that some of the people were back on the streets.

“I do what you call the assessment, take them in by me, assess them with every sickness, every disease. I make sure and get medication for them, make sure they come back to their status. The majority of them suffered mental illness,” he said.

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The pastor said he was right to pick up the people from the street and was seeking greater assistance from the State.

A sting operation, coordinated by Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith and executed by the Special Operation Response Team (SORT) went to the church at around 11pm on Tuesday.

Griffith said 65 men and four women were found, some in cages and other handcuffed.

He said three people, including the pastor, were detained.

Griffith described the scene as “virtual modern day slavery”. He said Taser guns and batons were recovered at the facility.

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PASTOR Glen Awong yesterday lashed out at Police Commissioner Gary Griffith, saying he was not an evil pastor and Griffith should apologise.  The founder of the Transformed Life Ministry and Rehabilitation Centre is also accusing the police of using excessive force when Griffith and officers of the Special Operations Response Team (SORT) raided the centre on Wednesday and “rescued” 69 drug addicted and mentally ill patients.

The confinement of mentally challenged persons to “cages” has been happening in this country for decades and it must stop. This is according to mental health and disability activist Nicole Cowie, who was committed to St Ann’s Psychiatric Hospital 18 years ago.

“All these enslavement, human trafficking and abuse rumours are complete false allegations. The clients were like family to us.” These were the words of Latoya Toppin, who has been a chef at Transformed Life Ministry (TLM) and Rehabilitation Centre, Arouca, for the past six years, and volunteer prior to that for over 15 years.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said yesterday State-owned Caribbean Airlines is in the black “for the first time”. Speaking at the “Spotlight on Budget 2020” forum at the Radisson Hotel, Port of Spain, the Prime Minister said from losing over US$600 million in the last eight years, the airline turned a profit of US$4 million in 2018.

Founder of the Transformed Life Ministry Rehabilitation Centre Pastor Glen Awong is now call…