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Police Launch Investigation into SDA Church Disturbance Involving Political Rivals

By Reginald Andrew

TWO political figures competing for the Castries South East seat in parliament are currently embroiled in a commotion that war-rants police intervention.

Police last Saturday were called in to intervene in an alleged disturbance at the Forestierre SDA church, involving the in-cumbent parliamentary representative for the area, Guy Joseph and his political rival Joachim Henry.

Image of Civil Aviation Minister Guy Joseph
Minister Guy Joseph

According to police reports, officers were called to the scene of the incident where it was claimed Henry entered the church to confront Joseph while a service was in progress.

“There was a report where an individual entered a place of wor-ship and caused disturbances,” Police Commissioner Milton Desir told reporters, at a press briefing on Tuesday.

Desir declined to name the individuals involved in the church incident but under persistent questioning by the press said the individuals were Economic Development Minister Guy Joseph and his political rival Joachim Henry of the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP).

He added that the matter is under investigation and that no charges have been preferred against the alleged culprit.

Nonetheless, Desir confirmed that it is an offence to disturb re-ligious services and such occurrences carries a penalty of $1000.

Image of Joachim Henry
Joachim Henry

To highlight the church incident, Desir explained: “The allega-tions are that the service was disturbed …and the law clearly states that at any point, once someone comes in and disturbs a worshipping session it is a criminal offence.”

Desir went on to say that reports of a firearm being part of the disturbance at the church were false.

“Police are in possession of a firearm but I must indicate now that a firearm was not a subject matter of the event that took place. But a firearm was brought in to the police and in the in-terest of safety we are keeping that firearm for ‘safe keeping’.”

Desir said the cops have a “legal firearm” in their possession and the hand gun belongs to Henry. He further disclosed that the firearm was brought in to the police by SLP stalwart and former chairman, talk show host Claudius Francis.

“The firearm was taken to the police and the police is securing the firearm for now,” he added.

Upon further query, the commissioner reported that Henry did not enter the church with a firearm.

“The investigation is not surrounding the use of a firearm or a firearm being exposed, the incident that we are dealing with is a disturbance,” Desir said.

As the matter unfolds it may not be ‘all that silly’ since the is-sue involves allegations that Joseph was using a level of politi-cal folly intended to tarnish the reputation of his political oppo-nent.

An SLP release states that Joseph has been perpetuating lies against Henry, in the midst of the SLP’s candidate sorrows as he mourns the loss of his son.

In recalling the circumstances that led to the SDA church inci-dent, Mrs. Henry in a Facebook post stated, earlier that day she met her husband at their home and he appeared to be heartbro-ken.

“Joachim told me that he had just learnt that our son’s name was being used in political messaging, among other slanderous statements,” she wrote.

She said they were both angered by this latest news and became even more incensed by Saturday, when they learned that the death of their son was being used for political gain.

Subsequently, Mrs. Henry admitted that she accompanied her husband to the church in order to confront his political oppo-nent.

Mrs. Henry said that she also wanted to express her grievances over the hurtful statements and disrespectful remarks that was allegedly being hurled at them by Joseph.

Joseph meanwhile has called for evidence accusing him of be-ing disrespectful to Henry’s deceased son or of him trying to gain ‘political mileage’ as a result of his political rival’s grief.

The two men at the heart of the church incident are political ri-vals contesting for the second time the Castries South East Con-stituency. Joseph defeated Henry at the June 2016 polls.

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