By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
A DEFENCE attorney on Friday accused the senior pastor of Golden Gates Assembly of “throwing jeers” at members on the church’s pastoral board and preventing them from having access within the church, in what was described as an abuse of power.
Attorney Ramona Farquharson-Seymour’s assertions against Trent Davis, senior pastor of Golden Gates Assembly, came during Friday’s hearing before Justice Ian Winder.
The church is currently embroiled in a disagreement stemming from Bishop Rostin Davis’ recent appointment of his son, Trent Davis, as senior pastor of the church.
Mrs Farquharson-Seymour is representing several pastors, listed as defendants in a lawsuit headed by Bishop Davis, who are protesting the appointment of the organisation’s newly assigned leader.
In a hearing before Justice Winder on Friday, Mrs Farquharson-Seymour claimed Pastor Davis has been abusing his power as the church’s senior leader by restricting the pastoral board from entering in the church building and being involved in other religious services.
“They are being kept outside of the church, no restrooms in the morning. They are being prevented from entering the church to host prayer meeting, Bible study. They cannot even access the restrooms… the locks have since been changed,” she told the judge. “This is what is happening.”
The defence attorney also accused Pastor Davis of “throwing jeers” at pastors, a situation which she said is “bordering now on ungodliness.”
“Bishop is barely visible,” she added. “His son is taking over all of the church and all of the services, throwing jeers and preventing the pastors from entering the church.”
Mrs Farquharson-Seymour subsequently called for Justice Winder to issue an order, allowing pastors to conduct prayer meetings and have access to the church building.
She also asked Justice Winder to allow the pastoral board the ability to participate in an upcoming communion service, which are usually led by the religious group.
Asked by Justice Winder how his order was preventing the board from doing so, Mrs Farquharson-Seymour replied she did not know, only saying his orders were somehow being “construed” in a certain way.
“My lord, I don’t know how it’s preventing it, but it is being construed in a particular way so we need from you unequivocally to say that these pastors can access the church sanctuary for Bible study, prayer meeting and for the communion service that is coming up,” she told the judge.
In response to the claims, Wayne Munroe, QC, who heads the counsel for plaintiffs Bishop Davis, Donna Turnquest, Genesta Williams, John Rigby and Joyous Picstock, said he had been instructed that no one had been excluded “insofar as the operations of the church.”
However, he also noted that the church is regulated “under the direction of the archbishop.”
After hearing both arguments, Justice Winder told the attorney he would make a decision on whether the board will participate in the upcoming communion service and thereby inform them of his decision on Tuesday.
As it relates to other issues, Justice Winder said he would deal with it at a later date.
Mrs Farquharson-Seymour’s assertions against Pastor Davis came after she failed to cross examine Bishop Ross Davis during Friday’s hearing following a back and forth exchange with Mr Munroe.
The exchange happened after Mrs Farquharson-Seymour made known her intentions to cross examine the plaintiff on “two sets of minutes” from committee meetings in 2007 and 2018.
However, Mr Munroe argued that his client had not had a chance to thoroughly examine the documents, which would place him at a “disadvantage.” He also said “it was unfortunate” that the documents were not in the initial affidavit and sent to him well in advance.
He further argued that he and his client would need to consider the “veracity” and “context” of the minutes.
“I could understand very clearly why Mrs Farquharson-Seymour would love to cross examine somebody on pieces of material where the person would have not had the occasion to review the entirety of the material,” he said.
In response, Mrs Farquharson- Seymour argued that all of minutes were “in the purview” of the archbishop, who she claimed had the documents from previous years.
Mr Munroe subsequently asked Justice Winder for a “formal case management” order to state that no further affidavits be filed “without leave and notice.”
Justice Winder then ordered that no further documents will be filed after October 9 without leave or notice.
The matter continues on October 22.