N/A Town Council handcuffs, chains church door

first_img…says place of worship cannot operate in business zoneA chain and handcuffs were used by the New Amsterdam Town Council to lock the doors of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God situated in Pitt Street, the busiest street in downtown New Amsterdam, and thus prevent service from taking place there.The council’s action was informed by a century-old law which prohibits the establishment of a church on Pitt Street, in the commercial zone of the town.Members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) turned up to theUniversal Church, Pitt Street New Amsterdam, with worshipers locked outplace of worship to find that chains and a padlock had been placed on the church door, and a pair of handcuffs preventing access to the building.“I asked them if they have any paper or document giving them the power to do what they were trying to do, to lock the church,” Pastor Reece explained. He said that since the church was opened in Pitt Street, no document was ever shown to him or to any of the other pastors; nor was any member of the church ever shown such a document.“It is embarrassing!” the pastor exclaimed, stating that handcuffs, used for criminals, were seen on the doors of the church. Maintaining that the purpose of the church is to win souls for the Kingdom of God, he expressed disappointment over the treatment meted out to his congregation, and the UCKG organisation at large, dubbing it downright embarrassing.The pastor mentioned that the church is registered in Guyana, and has never engaged in any malpractice. He added that the services kept in the building for the past two months have never encroached on the regular activities of businesses through the main street of New Amsterdam.However, the Council has said the area should be used only for business purposes.The building previously housed a nightclub. The church subsequently rented the building, paying US$1000 monthly after the plan showed a design was for an auditorium.According to Reece, the building is soundproof, negating any issue of noise nuisance, and members do not park their vehicles in that street, to add to the already limited parking space issue.Shirley Crawford, a member of the UCKG for the past five years, related that the action taken by the Municipality is disgusting.“I didn’t expect the Town Hall to do us this, we are no harm to (any) one,” she related as she shook the tightly locked handcuff on the grill.Rajwattie Mohan, another member worshipping at the church for over eight years, shared similar sentiments. She described the actions of the New Amsterdam Town Council as ‘a disgrace’.According to her, there are within the town more pressing situations to which the council should pay attention, one being the timely distribution of solid waste.Meanwhile, on Thursday afternoon, the Mayor held a press conference to address the issue. According to Mayor Winifred Haywood, the Council does not have an issue with the church, but the building is in violation of the Council’s by-laws, which make specific mention of Pitt Street, saying that it should be reserved for business only.Deputy Mayor George Tucker also endorsed that position, saying the church’s operation is a violation of the 1923 by-law. Tucker noted that if the church is allowed to be established there, persons in the business community would have to desist from certain activities in close proximity to its operation. (Andrew Carmichael)last_img read more