Tue | Nov 30, 2021

No charge yet for pastor who lashed Holness

Published:Saturday | August 14, 2021 | 12:08 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer

The case against a St Ann pastor, who was arrested in March after making unsavoury remarks about Prime Minister Andrew Holness, continues to drag on, with a file to determine if he should be charged still incomplete, nearly five months later.

Reverend Peter Chambers was taken into custody on March 24 by a Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime (C-TOC) team, which carried out an early-morning raid on his premises in Brown’s Town, St Ann.

The raid followed Chambers’ posting on social media of videos in which he criticised Holness for the COVID-19 containment measures, including restrictions on church congregations. One of the videos also predicted the death of the prime minister, a situation which some perceived as a threat.

Chambers was released two days later and a file sent to e Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn to rule whether he should be charged.

The file remains incomplete.

“I have not been charged. There is no case. All is just allegations,” Chambers told The Gleaner after his release in March.

In a subsequent interview, Chambers maintained that there was no case against him.

On April 8, Llewellyn told The Gleaner that she was still awaiting the completion of a file by the police to determine whether Chambers should be charged.

On August 3, when The Gleaner again contacted the DPP, our news team was directed to speak with C-TOC.

On Friday, head of C-TOC, Assistant Commissioner Anthony McLaughlin, told The Gleaner that investigations were still not complete.

“I spoke with the investigator. He said the matter is still under investigation,” McLaughlin confirmed.

He said come next week, however, when more concrete information would be forthcoming.

Chambers’ case is also seen by some as a move by the State to suppress criticisms of the prime minister, a view that was enhanced after subsequent arrests of persons who similarly criticised Holness.