69 ‘rescued’ from Arouca church

69 rescued from cages at Arouca church
These people both men and women are believed to be victims of “modern day slavery” and “human trafficking” according to Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith who spoke to the Guardian Media Limited’s Lead Investigative desk Mark Bassant earlier on Wednesday just outside the Transformed Life Ministry Rehabilitation Centre.

Ramadharsingh: Concerns were raised and dealt with
Former Minister of the People and Social Development under the People’s Partnership Government Dr Glen Ramadharsingh, in condemning the housing of the mentally ill and socially displaced in cages at the Transformed Life Ministry (TLM) in Arouca, said yesterday that during his tenure as minister in 2013/2014 concerns were raised as to the methodologies and it was dealt with.

‘Some had maggots, I cleaned, bathe them’ says detained rehab pastor
The pastor told the JSC members that he had over 25 years’ experience in working with socially displaced people in Trinidad and Tobago. “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.

Deyalsingh: They were getting act together
Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh said yesterday, the Transformed Life Ministry rehabilitation centre was in the process of improving the standard of its operations for it to be registered as an approved home under his ministry.

I am glad it happened
69 ‘clients’ removed from Transformed Life Ministry

Captive ‘congregation’
“This is like a horror movie,” said a family member whose relative was among 69 people discovered locked in cages at the Transformed Life Ministry Rehabilitation Centre in on the Eastern Main Road, Arouca, yesterday morning during a raid by police.

Young disturbed by caged people at church
National Security Minister Stuart Young this morning expressed concern and shock after police rescued 69 men and women from slave-like conditions during an overnight raid.

3 Responses to “69 ‘rescued’ from Arouca church”


  • A social sore only Govt can fix
    At the centre of the still-unfolding circumstances around the alleged maltreatment of scores of people housed at the Arouca Transformed Life Ministry (TLM) is the inadequacy of State-provided services for the wide swath of vulnerable people among the national population. Governments, ministries and other State agencies, therefore, cannot wash their hands off the responsibility or deflect the public’s demand for accountability.

    TELL ME SORRY GARY
    LESS than an hour after issuing a statement insisting that his description of the conditions at the Transformed Life Ministry’s rehabilitation centre in Arouca as “modern day slavery” was correct, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith is being asked to make a public apology. The call is being made by the centre’s owner Pastor Glen Awong who said the description was unfair and misleading.

    ‘I AM NO MONSTER’ – Pastor breaks his silence
    Pastor Glen Awong, the founder of Transformed Life Ministry and Rehabilitation Centre in Arouca where 69 people were “rescued” from cages yesterday says Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith got it all wrong.

    Griffith rejects calls to apologise
    Trials and tribulations may come in the way but only God’s righteous will stand. This is the belief of dedicated followers of Transformed Life Ministry, Eastern Main Road, Arouca as they called on Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith to apologise to their spiritual leader for misleading the public of his arrest on Wednesday during the rescue operation of 69 residents from the rehabilitation centre. However, when contacted about the request for an apology, Griffith said he is not going to apologise.

  • First of all it was not a church where these 69 people were being kept. It is a para church ministry run by a minister, his family and workers.

    As the pastor made it clear these were people whom no one wanted. They were mentally and emotionally rejected by society due to a history of problems. Some were in St. Ann’s where they were released and became homeless.

    Mental illness is a terrible thing. I knew a lady who had lupus and lived on the streets for over 2 years. Her family managed to convince her to come and stay with them. Over the passage of time she passed on, but it was not easy for her daughter and husband. She never liked the husband, but he did what he had to do.

    As people live under a high degree of stress it is possible for them to “trip off” and become delusional. What can loved ones do? It is never an easy decision.

    These places have to be regulated and supervised often with staff being trained to understand mental illness and how to deal with it. I have a friend who lives alone, heavy drug user who became a shell of a man. At some point in time he will need a place like that institution to conclude his years. He is not violent but just mentally nonfunctional.

    In our society churches can do great work. I have been to homes run by churches and the level of care is phenomenal. I have been to government run institutions and for the employees it is just a job. Patient injuries are common.

    The Ministry working with these places need to do a better job…

  • The mental health system is in crisis and needs to be rectified by the policy makers,psychiatrists and other relevant persons.
    The cruel,inhuman and degrading treatment of persons afflicted by mental illness is counterproductive.
    This is a clear violation of human rights and an abuse of seclusion and restraint policy by unqualified persons.
    International guidelines by authoritative psychiatric bodies publishes policy papers on seclusion and restraint.
    This level of brutality seen in Arouca suggests that our mental health care system is archaic and not evidence based.
    Psychiatry has a long way to go in Trinidad as we may be centuries behind.
    Patients must be treated in a humane and fair manner respecting their rights and freedom.

Leave a Reply