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Caribbean clergymen robbed at gunpoint
published: Wednesday | November 12, 2003

By Lolita Long, New York Editor

WHILE CLERICS were meeting in a pastor's office to discuss violence, two criminals walked in and robbed several Caribbean clergymen, at gunpoint, in Newark last week.

"We couldn't believe what was happening," said the Rev. Alfred Johnson, pastor of the Clinton Avenue Presbyterian Church in New Jersey.

The six Caribbean ministers, who were having a meeting at the church in a Think Tank session to tackle the drug problem and the impact of deportees on the region, were robbed in the church.

They were Canon Gervais Clarke, a priest of several years now in East Orange, New Jersey; Rev. Ewart Richards from Guyana; Rev Keith Rae, of United Methodist; Rev Andrew Bennett of the Elim Missionary Church in Paterson; Rev. Alfred Johnson, of the Clinton Avenue Presbyterian Church and Kenneth Pinto, of the Youth for Christ Movement in New Brunswick.

Councilwoman Elsie Foster-Dublin, who was also at the meeting, was not robbed. The criminals refused to take anything from her.

The two men, armed with high-powered weapons, walked into the church, and, using expletives demanded all the cash from the men.

One minister, Rev. Andrew Bennett of the Elim Missionary Church in New Jersey, was roughed up when he did not comply immediately with the demand to "hand over all the money."

They did not want jewellery and got away with $150. The Newark police are investigating, but up to Monday, no arrest had yet been made.

Speaking with The Gleaner, Rev. Johnson said that the incident would not prevent the church from conducting its business in the inner city.

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