Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 November 2016, 19:11 by Denis Chabrol
The recent sex-tape scandal that rocked self-styled Pope Emmanuel / Philbert London and his Beacon Ministries church is gaining the attention of government.
Minister of Social Services, Volda Lawrence said she has been speaking with a few lawyers to deal with that “very technical” situation in which the sexual activities involving adults seemed to be consensual. Among the considerations, she said, was whether the video recordings were original or edited.
“We have spoken to persons attending the church and at this point those persons who we would have spoken to do not feel that something wrong was done,” Lawrence said.
Lawrence said her ministry would take action if someone reports having been sexually assaulted by London who has already apologised and asked his congregants to forgive him for any embarrassment that he has caused them.
“We looked at all of the angles and we are hoping that if there has been any abuse, if somebody can come forward- that’s all we need as one person but other than that I have been advised that there is nothing that we can do,” she said. Asked whether the ministry was probing the possibility of the church members and the women with whom London was seen having intimate relations were brainwashed, she said “we have to have the mechanisms to say that that is so. Right now there are a lot of assumptions and you know that we can’t take anything to the court with assumptions. We have to have some hard facts,” she said.
The Social Services Minister said she and her officials have also viewed a recording of girls dancing and it would be the subject of another round of discussions in the coming days. “We also looked at the tape with the girls dancing and all of that. We are going to give it some more thought. We will meet some time this week again to really get a better of image so that we look and see what is going on,” Lawrence said.
Public Health Minister, Dr. George Norton said he would “certainly” raise the issue with his ministry’s Mental Health Unit. “I didn’t follow the story closely but the mere fact that somebody could have gone to that extent and still from my judgment did not lose any kind of membership tells you that you need to probe and see whether we are within the boundaries of ordinary human behaviour,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.
Against the background of the Jim Jones cult that claimed the lives of more than 900 Americans in a murder-suicide in north-western Guyana in November 1978, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan said he had not given the matter thought before but now that it has been raised he would be asking Commissioner of Police, Seelall Persaud to take steps to monitor the church. “I think he is a sexual pervert, has absolutely no decency about him and he is going to utilize and exploit those women, but apart from that it’s consensual and now you indicated to me that Ms Volda Lawrence, she probably would have good reason to feel so and so I would ask that it be checked out,” Ramjattan said.
London last Sunday told his followers that he has never told them that they need to do good to be saved, but they can only receive salvation by the Grace of God and if they believe that Jesus died for their sins.
He has also cautioned critics that bad omens would befall them as has happened in the past when persons have died in road accidents and their buildings destroyed by fire.