Pastor Glen Awong of the Transformed Life Ministries (TLM) has been granted $900,000 in bail after appearing before an Arima Magistrate on allegations of kidnapping, false imprisonment and trafficking in persons.
Awong appeared alongside church employee Indra Jaggernath before Magistrate Cheron Raphael in the First Court today.
Awong was represented by attorney Daniel Mitchell, while Jaggernath was represented by attorney Wayne Sturge.
When the matter was called Sturge informed the court that he intended to call Guardian Media Limited’s Investigative Desk Editor Mark Bassant as a witness.
At the time Bassant was seated in the public gallery of the court room.
While Sturge was in the process of asking the court to have Bassant leave the court house, the investigative reporter opted to leave the court on his own volition before the request could be completed.
While this was happening, Sturge also asked that Bassant not to be the one to report on what he would have heard.
After further submissions to the court Awong was granted bail on the condition that he surrender his passport, and report to the Arouca police station every Thursday until the matter was recalled.
He was also told not to make any contact with Cpl MCKain, the complainant (charging officer) in the matter.
Jaggernath was granted bail at $300,000 under similar conditions.
The matter was adjourned to January 10.
Both Awong and Jaggernath were detained on Monday following investigations into the acts of misconduct at the TLM branch in Arouca.
In October, at Transformed Life Ministries, on Eastern Main Road, Arouca, police conducted an operation where they removed 69 persons from that facility.
Police said they were all being held captive, in unfit conditions.
Most were in cages and some were in handcuffs.
Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith used the terms ‘human trafficking’ and ‘modern-day slavery’ while being interviewed.
Although this terminology brought the story international attention, it has been disputed by legal professionals.