Awong: I’m no monster

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?

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Story by: MARK BASSANT

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