October 9 statement from Leela Ramdeen, Chair, CCSJ
The Catholic Commission of Social Justice (CCSJ) calls on all right-thinking persons to pray and act to rid our communities/country of inhuman treatment of our people, which, as the Vatican II document Gaudium et Spes states, “is opposed to life itself…and (is a) supreme dishonour to the Creator”.
The Trinidad Express reported, 69 T&T citizens ranging in ages from 20 to their 60s were rescued at approximately 12:15 a.m. on Wednesday, October 9 at a prominent rehabilitation centre/church on Eastern Main Road, Arouca in a sting operation coordinated by the Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith and executed by the Special Operation Response Team (SORT), TTPS from a Church in Arouca.
This is an attack on the SOUL of our beloved nation. Many of the persons were kept in cages. Some were in handcuffs. What is also shocking is a media report that senior police officers were told months ago about possible imprisonment of persons. Commissioner Griffith is now investigating possible negligence of duties of officers.
There can be no justification for treating persons in this way. I understand that many of those who live in the East are aware of this place in Arouca. As someone said to me: “That church ministry had been in the news on many occasions and nothing had been done. For the most part those who run it are in it for the money as they accept street dwellers and mentally ill persons off the streets and people must be paying them to provide shelter for them. It is an unfortunate situation but one in which oversight has been neglected by the authorities.”
What systems are in place to monitor and evaluate what goes on in premises such as this? This is a crime against humanity and touches the most vulnerable in society. Justice cries out for us to ACT now to protect our citizens who are affected. And there are many other areas in our country where those on the periphery of our society are treated as less than human. Shame on us!