GUYANA – Govt keeping eye on ‘Pope’
GEORGETOWN – Guyana’s self-proclaimed Pope, Philbert London, and his Beacon Ministries Church are anxious to get past his embarrassing sex scandal, but the government hints that the religious leader is not off the hook just yet.
At least three government ministers say they are scrutinizing the incident.
Earlier this month, several pornographic photographs of London and various women made the rounds on social media.
One photograph showed a smiling London cuddled next to an unidentified woman, while another photograph had a man, believed to be him, naked and sprawled between two naked women.
London has since asked his congregation for forgiveness. Members readily agreed, embracing their leader.
But Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan revealed that he would be asking Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud to keep a close eye on the church as he expressed disgust at the actions of the religious leader.
“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 so I would ask that it be checked out,” Ramjattan told Demerara Waves.
His colleague Minister of Social Services Volda Lawrence revealed that she has raised the matter with several lawyers, but at this stage there were no grounds for legal action.
However, she made it clear that her ministry would take legal action if there were reports of sexual assault against London.
“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 . . . But other than that, I have been advised that there is nothing that we can do,” she said.
When pressed by journalists about whether her ministry was probing the possibility that the church members and the women with whom London was 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.”
Lawrence said her ministry was also scrutinizing a recording of girls dancing and it would be the subject of another round of discussions in the coming days.
Public Health Minister, Dr George Norton has also weighed in on the issue. While admitting that he did not follow the story closely, the minister expressed concern that London readily received forgiveness and adoration from his members despite his gross acts.
“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.
London has since hired an attorney-at-law Jerome Khan.
Khan told the News Room that there was “no criminality in terms of the conduct” of his client and expressed grave concern that the material was released.
“There is no issue about persons being forced to do it, there is no issue of under aged children involved. This is an issue of consenting adults participating in a process and some persons or person having access to it, then sharing it with a news media who is now publishing this thing and making news out of it,” the lawyer said.