Pastor Glenn Awong is unapologetic for the activities that were allegedly uncovered at his Transformed Life Ministries Rehabilitation Centre after police officers from the Special Operations Response Team (SORT) raided the compound in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.
In fact, Awong sees himself as a saviour of the people that he said he was “caring” for.
“I am here to take away heartache for family. Families love their children but they recognise that they are mental and they are not responsible for their existence to seek help. I am the only ministry besides the Ministry of Health, doctors prescribe me social workers and they are not badly treated.”
Awong, in a hastily arranged media conference to which Guardian Media Limited was not invited, said he was “no monster” and demanded an apology from Police Commissioner Gary Griffith after 69 persons were rescued from the compound, many found in cages.
“So I want to believe now besides the allegations. I am suing the government for monies they have for me and the did not pay me. I figure politically. I could be wrong, but when things come in my thought(sic). I am alright because if the National Security did not know about it and the Ministry of Health did not know about it—then it was a cabal!”
Several of the journalists who attended the media conference questioned Awong but were unable to challenge him on several of the allegations because they did not have all the information.
Several weeks ago Guardian Media spoke to people who claimed they were tortured and abused while they had stayed at the facility.
Close to noon, Guardian Media’s Lead Editor of the Investigative Desk Mark Bassant contacted Awong after hearing about the media conference. He said: “I cannot speak to you at the moment since I am about to talk to the media. I should be available in about 30-45 minutes. But if when we speak I would have to have my lawyer present.”
Strangely, Awong’s lawyer was not present during the media conference.
Guardian Media later visited the Arouca church and spotted Awong opening the gate for police officers.
He told us then that the police were about to interview him and he should be done in about an hour.
Calls about two hours later to his phone went unanswered.
Awong had told the media, “Many people do not know about mental clients and what facilities they should have and how you have to restrain them and how you have to operate and when to restrain a person that is tripping off. Then you have to have a seclusion room and the Ministry of Health put all that in place. They ask for those things.”
One of the journalists at the media conference interjected, “What about what is being described as cages?”
Awong shot back immediately.
“So to deal with mental clients you have to have seclusion rooms and if you visit St Elizabeth’s Home you recognise they have little children and when they trip off they get into a mood and they have to have a place to control them. To deal with mental clients if you want to know what is a seclusion room you go St Ann’s when they trip off there are clients that cut off their toes.”
Awong boasted that only some of them were put in cages while the others were placed in what he termed “dormitories” or “wards.”
But there were other questions that Guardian Media had planned to ask which included: Did the Ministry of Health officials tour these specific areas where the cages and mattresses were when they toured in June? Were tasers and acid used on the persons staying at the facility? Did you show the families of these patients your methods of treatment? Did you show relatives where their loved ones would be kept? How do you explain some past suicides and suicide attempts at the facility?
Story by: MARK BASSANT