The police turned up at a church service being held Sunday in a building that is needed by the Board of Education and the Ministry. A service was being conducted there by Rev Charlesworth Browne, overseer of the Christian Ministries Centre, located a stone’s throw from the Antigua Grammar School.
“Police officers showed up in the middle of the service like to stop the service,” Rev Browne told Caribarena.com on Monday.
He said a church member was able to show the police a document indicating that the Ministry of Agriculture had given authority to use the building. As a result, they had been able to get APUA to provide electricity to the building.
“APUA is not going to connect your electricity unless you have permission from the appropriate body,” Rev Browne reasoned.
He said officers showed up twice on Sunday, and each time saw no reason to take any sort of action against the administrators of the church.
Browne said the police's action came after he sent a letter to Education Minister Dr Jacqui Quinn-Leandro last Tuesday indicating what they are using the building for, after he got wind that the Ministry had plans for it.
He said the letter explained that the facility was also being used as a crisis centre to provide counseling, and an after-school programme, among other things.
Pastor Browne said he made several attempts over the past few days to reach Dr Quinn-Leandro, and left messages after he was told she was at Cabinet on Friday, but has not had a response.
Dr Quinn-Leandro, speaking to Caribarena.com on Monday, said the building has been earmarked for a particular department, to ease severe overcrowding at the Ministry headquarters.
She said Pastor Browne had been told that the building was not for use, and in any event, the Ministry of Agriculture cannot grant him permission, since the structure belongs to the Ministry of Education.
“He was told not to use the building on several occasions… he was told the building belonged to the Ministry of Education,” the minister said.
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