(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) — 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.
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.
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.