At least one Human Rights Attorney has expressed the view that the state followed the right process after it received a complaint about the conditions at the Transformed Life Ministries Rehabilitation Centre (TLM).
Senior Partner at Hove and Associates, Farai Hove Mesaisai said it is too early to make a judgement on charges against the owners. He said more information needs to be had on the circumstances that led to the people being at TLM and evidence to back up any claims made.
“We know for a fact there were cages and we know for a fact that persons were in the cages. Just by watching you might say that is a human rights issue, persons being in cages in the 21st century. But we don’t know the facts surrounding it. We don’t know if they were being caged for their own protection, to protect them from themselves...I don’t know.”
He said a properly qualified psychiatrist would be the best person to say whether such practices were suitable.
However, as it relates to the state’s involvement in the matter, Mesaisai expressed the view that based on what he has seen in the media, proper procedures were followed by all agencies.
“If the Minister has taken the high road and say we going to shut down this business without having that investigation first, put the cart before the horse, then the state might have been liable for a lawsuit for loss of earnings and all these sort of things.
The more prudent thing would have been to allow the police to do their investigation, allow them to gather their evidence and allow the court to make a decision on it.”
He maintained though that the best person to advise the state on such matter would be the Attorney General Faris Al Rawi.
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said that after receiving a complaint in June, the County Medical Officer, the police and Division of Ageing visited the institution. He added that the Mental Health Unit also went to the site on July 1.
He said at that time, several caged isolation rooms were found but were explained as temporary seclusion rooms for violent clients.
He added that following the visit, several recommendations were made to get the business to become an approved home. He explained that up to two weeks ago this was being done.
Reporter: Chester Sambrano