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Staff of the Inland Revenue Department and other members of the public as the staff members prayed for their embattled colleagues on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023.
Staff of the Inland Revenue Department and other members of the public as the staff members prayed for their embattled colleagues on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023.
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A number of government workers held a prayer session outside the Serious Offences Court in Kingstown on Monday, where one of their colleagues appeared on firearm and ammunition charges.

Most of the Inland Revenue Department employees arrived at the court in a government-owned minibus during work hours and were there for about an hour before leaving after their colleague had secured bail around 10:30 a.m.

The workers were standing in solidarity with Ashano Benjamin, a 26-year-old tax officer, who, along with fellow Barrouallie resident, Kemani Gould, a 27-year-old labourer, was arraigned that day.

Both men pleaded not guilty and were granted bail on charges that they had a .40 pistol and six rounds of .40 ammunition in their possession at Arnos Vale between Oct. 7 and 28, 2023.

Among the people who prayed during the prayer session was Kathleen Nanton-Davis, grievance officer at the Public Service Union.

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The accused, Ashano Benjamin, covers his head as he leaves the Serious Offences Court in the company of co-workers from the Inland Revenue Department on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023.

Some of the employees wiped their eyes, as if crying, during their prayer session.

Nanton-Davis later attempted to convince iWitness News not to publish images of the prayer session, raising among her arguments the supposed ethics of taking a video or photo of someone while they are praying with their eyes closed.

While the group was at the court, iWitness News visited the IRD, which is located just a few hundred metres away from the court.

Kemani Gould Ashano Benjamin
The accused, Kemani Gould, left, and Ashano Benjamin arrive at the Serious Offences Court on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023.

There were three tellers on duty, including one at the window reserved for senior citizens, while 20 people were queuing and eight were seated, apparently waiting to be attended to at the tax collection agency.

It is not clear which department(s) at the IRD the workers were from, but most of them returned to the department from the court aboard a government-owned minivan.

9 replies on “Prayer session outside court as man answers to gun charges”

  1. It is hard to know where to begin to unpack such egregious abuses and of the most basic of ethics. And all of this is nesting comfortably in an environment that, for the most part, accepts such abuses and sees nothing amiss. Business as usual.

  2. Deserin Nee Wishart says:

    the tax office running like a miki mouse operation went ten minutes before closing time, the police says its closed, when it clearly says on the paper 1:30 pm thats very bad buisness, its really lazy buisness going on there.

  3. One of the reasons why there are 43 homicides. It is never the ones you expect are breaking the law. Criminals cloaked in respectability

  4. The action of the tax Department to conduct a prayer vigil outside of the high court is tantamount to being sacreligious. Do they really understand the purpose of a prayer? St Vincent is infested with the gun culture. […] That is the reason why I do not want to see the church door, given that the very same church is infested with hypocrites and parasites.

    Recently a devout Christian, a junior constable, S. Soleyn was charged for an alleged rape of a church goer. God help us. These are the very people who should have been arrested, given that violate the sanctity of the Court premises.

  5. Colbert McDonald says:

    COLBERTO Does it make sense when you report like this.Did you do this for your fellow reporter.Check with other financial institution on a busy day, can’t even go to two of them in one day.Caramba!

  6. For all the gun crime in SVG the prosecution should be hard on gun offenders regardless of who they are whats good for Peter should be good for Paul he is an adult not a six year old

  7. Why not pray for every young man with this issue in this same manner? Why? Abba Father is not a man that can be mocked and cannot be fooled either.

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