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Offline Flex

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The Transformed Life Ministry
« on: October 10, 2019, 01:42:48 AM »
$7m govt subvention for church raided by police
By Kalifa Sarah Clyne (Newsday).

The Transformed Life Ministry in Arouca, which is at the centre of a dramatic rescue by police this morning, received approximately $7.4 million from the State between 2010 and 2015.
The last cheque payment was dated August 6, 2015.

The State gave the church the money as part of a subvention to NGOs. A subvention is funds provided to an NGO to assist in the operation of a particular social development programme.
An official from the NGO unit at the Ministry of Social Development, said all NGOs must meet specific criteria in order to access subventions. This includes being in existence for at least a year, being registered with the Registrar General for over year. The NGO must also meet 40 per cent of its operating cost.

The official said the NGO must also have a dedicated bank account and must provide previous years external audit and list current executive board members.
The official said the ministry has a mandate to look after the vulnerable, which includes the socially displaced, those in poverty and the elderly. The official could not answer whether Transformed Life Ministry met these criteria and referred all questions to the Social Development Ministry Permanent Secretary Jacintha Bailey-Sobers.

Bailey-Sobers' office line was busy when Newsday attempted multiple calls. The church, which is also known as a rehabilitation centre sat before Parliament's joint select committee on social services in June 2016, represented by a pastor and two other people. At that committee, the pastor spoke of working with socially displaced people who they took off the streets.

"I do what you call the assessment, take them by me, assess them with every sickness, every disease, make sure they get medication for them, make sure they come back to their status, the majority of them are suffering with mental illness," the pastor said.

At 1 am today, heavily armed police raided the church and rescued 69 people who were found locked up in cages on the compound. Some of the captives were stark naked. Many were elderly and appeared frail. The police also found and seized handcuffs, batons and Tasers. Six people including a pastor, were arrested and investigations are ongoing.

The real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.

Offline Flex

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Re: The Transformed Life Ministry
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2019, 12:23:31 AM »
‘Abuse and licks for demons’
By Mark Bassant (Guardian).

Se­nior po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tors tasked with in­ves­ti­gat­ing the ac­tiv­i­ties at the Trans­formed Life Min­istry Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­tre say they will now be look­ing in­to fresh al­le­ga­tions of abuse at the fa­cil­i­ty.

This af­ter one of four per­sons pre­vi­ous­ly housed there, who were not part of the group re­suced last week, claimed that dur­ing his two-year stay he was abused by sev­er­al peo­ple.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors say this and oth­er al­le­ga­tions made by sev­er­al oth­er peo­ple once housed there will be “thor­ough­ly in­ves­ti­gat­ed.”

It was al­so an as­sur­ance giv­en by ACP for Crime Jayson Forde, who told the me­dia yes­ter­day that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was a wide-reach­ing one and po­lice were still in­ter­view­ing sev­er­al of the peo­ple who were res­cued from the fa­cil­i­ty. Forde said in­ves­ti­ga­tors were work­ing “as­sid­u­ous­ly to charge those that are cul­pa­ble.”

One of the vic­tims, whose name was changed to Anil by Guardian Me­dia to hide his iden­ti­ty, on Mon­day lev­elled se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tions of abuse while at the Arou­ca fa­cil­i­ty.

Anil, who is in his ear­ly thir­ties, said the har­row­ing or­deals oc­curred reg­u­lar­ly dur­ing a two-year stay in the fa­cil­i­ty, de­scrib­ing it as “hell” as he re­count­ed be­ing forced to do things against his will with sev­er­al peo­ple, in­clud­ing work­ers.

Anil was ad­mit­ted to the fa­cil­i­ty some­time in ear­ly 2017 for treat­ment for bipo­lar dis­or­der.

“Soon af­ter I got there, they made me take off my clothes for al­most a year in a cage,” Anil re­vealed.

Anil al­leged that he was abused count­less times and beat­en at times to sub­mit to dif­fer­ent types of abu­sive acts.

“I was re­al­ly stressed out. I was be­ing forced to do these things against my will. I spoke about Je­sus and I told these peo­ple I just want to be calm and have no is­sues but they kept com­ing at me,” Anil claimed.

Try­ing to main­tain his com­po­sure dur­ing the in­ter­view, Anil said the ex­pe­ri­ence shat­tered his emo­tion­al state.

“I felt vi­o­lat­ed. I don’t want the wrong idea to come across that peo­ple could do those things to me. It still hurts and this is my life and self-re­spect.”

Gripped with fear and ter­ror while he was at the fa­cil­i­ty, he said he was on­ly now will­ing to give po­lice a full re­port about his abuse af­ter see­ing the raid on the or­gan­i­sa­tion last week.

Anil’s par­ents even­tu­al­ly took him out of the home af­ter his plead­ings and trans­ferred him to an­oth­er home in East Trinidad late last year, where he has since been mak­ing tremen­dous progress ac­cord­ing to the own­er of the new home who spoke with Guardian Me­dia when we vis­it­ed.

An­oth­er for­mer in­di­vid­ual housed at the fa­cil­i­ty, Hay­den (not his re­al name), who is in his late twen­ties, said he spent four of his “rough­est” months in life af­ter he was tak­en there by his par­ents to kick a mar­i­jua­na habit in late June this year.

Like the oth­er vic­tims, he de­scribed the in­hu­mane treat­ment he was sub­ject­ed to, which in­clud­ed be­ing put in­to cages and be­ing fed food with bones in it. He al­leged that dur­ing his treat­ment em­ploy­ees tried to ex­or­cise demons from him with force.

“They are lock­ing me down and do­ing me all kind of wicked­ness. They are cuff­ing me in my bel­ly and telling me that is to take out the demons and thing. They would do this every Thurs­day and Fri­day,” Hay­den said.

The abuse, Hay­den said, al­most drove him to take his own life.

“I had the in­ten­tion of harm­ing my­self be­cause I was feel­ing so de­pressed and it just adds more frus­tra­tion to my prob­lem. I was feel­ing sui­ci­dal but I could not do it, I had the love of Je­sus in me and he made me pull through and that is why I am de­liv­ered to­day. I no longer smoke mar­i­jua­na or cig­a­rettes. The place where I am now is like heav­en now.”

He said his par­ents fi­nal­ly took him out of the fa­cil­i­ty just two weeks ago af­ter his con­tin­ued com­plaints.

The hor­ror sto­ry for Michael (not his re­al name), who spent nine months at TLM, was al­so just as un­set­tling. Michael said he was caught steal­ing at a San­gre Grande gro­cery and was lat­er tak­en be­fore a mag­is­trate and giv­en a bond. He said he was first sent to the St Ann’s Psy­chi­atric Hos­pi­tal but doc­tors did not find any men­tal is­sues with him.

“My moth­er then told me some­one told her to take me to this place where I could cool off and re­think my life,” he said.

In the first three months, Michael, in his late twen­ties, said he spent most of the time in a cage and al­leged­ly saw peo­ple be­ing beat­en and liq­uid thrown in their eyes, which he al­leged caused some to be­come par­tial­ly blind.

“I got my first vis­it af­ter three months and I told my moth­er but she nev­er be­lieved me be­cause she thought I want­ed to go home,” Michael claimed.

Held in a cage for months, he said he felt like he was be­ing treat­ed like an an­i­mal by those work­ing there.

“You have to num­ber one and num­ber two in a buck­et. And they some­times take the buck­et away from you and you must do every­thing on the ground and ac­cord­ing to how you talk to him, he will hand­cuff you down. And you some­times uri­nat­ing and defe­cat­ing on your­self and you not eat­ing for days, it was re­al pres­sure.”

He said it was through the di­vine in­ter­ven­tion of some­one who worked at the fa­cil­i­ty part-time and knew his fa­ther that he got the mes­sage to his par­ents to come and re­move him from the fa­cil­i­ty.

“My moth­er came and take me out but like she was scared to talk to me. She did not re­alise I was speak­ing the truth but I want to tell her that I for­give and love her very much.”

Michael, who is al­so now at the new home in East Trinidad, said he was re­lieved when he heard the news that peo­ple were res­cued from the fa­cil­i­ty last week.

“It made me feel re­al­ly good. That need­ed to hap­pen be­cause some­body need­ed to know what go­ing on. They can­not hide it away any­more be­cause it’s a church,” he said.

“I just think the pas­tor has to start all over. You need to fix that place. Be­cause I used to feel sor­ry for those women who were in cages for months and be­ing fed through the holes. The on­ly time they came out was for the church ser­vice on Sat­ur­days.”

An­tho­ny (not his re­al name), who al­so has a bipo­lar dis­or­der like Anil, al­so spent six months there be­fore he was trans­ferred to the fa­cil­i­ty in East. He al­so faced sim­i­lar treat­ment like the oth­er three vic­tims and said it seemed that the peo­ple there were more in­ter­est­ed in the mon­ey than in treat­ing the peo­ple who went there.

Luck­i­ly, af­ter six months and with the help of friends he was able to leave.

In en­dur­ing the tribu­la­tions, he faced at the fa­cil­i­ty, An­tho­ny said he had one mes­sage for the peo­ple who had been kept there.

“God does not sleep, what goes around comes around.”

The real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.