‘Spy’ pastor threatens to release state secrets

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The Jerusalem Bride Church run by Pastor Ian Brown in Arima.

A pastor who claimed to be an intelligence officer at the Strategic Services Agency (SSA) says he is fearful for his life after his cover “was blown.”

In an interview on Power 102fm on Tuesday, Ian Brown says he will release confidential information to the public if he is killed.

He said he believes his life is now in danger and he has lodged sensitive documents with three attorneys who are instructed to release them publicly if he is killed.

He also said he would release the information if certain “righteous” people within the SSA were to be removed.

These are who he believes have integrity and will stand up for what is right.

“If today certain people are taken down, what I have in sealed envelopes will be unsealed by my lips so that the nation will know…”

Brown claims he is one of only three people who know what the documents contain.

On Saturday morning, some 100 officers raided Brown’s Arima house and one of his churches at Caratal, Cumuto and seized two police uniforms and two wireless transmitters.

Brown later said he was an SRP officer appointed by three successive police commissioners, including the current officer holder and assigned to the SSA.

He believes his ousting is directly related to the March 2 SSA leadership shake-up where director Roger Best was sent on administrative leave and replaced by retired Brigadier General Anthony Phillips-Spencer after a National Security Council recommendation to Cabinet.

“Sir, I may die today. My brother was murdered because of what he was doing, that I was doing similarly. He was a police informant and he was shot dead, nine bullets okay? He never knew I was a police officer. My mother died the same year. That was 2022 I was talking about. She never knew I was a police officer involved in anything,” Brown said on Tuesday.

Asked by host and Independent Senator Paul Richards if he believes releasing the information will destabilise national security and the country, Brown said no.

“Sir, this is going to strengthen the country. For the country to rise up and say we really want to stop crime and to solve things and have things going the right way. So it isn’t going to mash up anything. It’s going to join the nation.”

Newsday did not get responses to Brown’s statements from National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds, Commissioner of Police Erla Harewood-Christopher and the Prime Minister.

Former National Security minister Brigadier General Carl Alfonso told Newsday he found the situation “very foolish.”

“No spy says he’s a spy to the general public. You don’t do that.. I don’t know if he’s a spy to start with. I see where he was employed by the Ministry of National Security, he was employed working with Major Best who is just being relieved. So Major Best has to answer some questions,” Alfonso said.

He said Best is the only one who can corroborate Brown’s claims.

“I can understand if he’s an SRP and that can be proven but who’s going to say that he was a spy other than himself? I don’t know.”

Alfonso was also puzzled by Brown’s threat to release sensitive information if he is killed or if certain people are removed from the SSA.

“If you’re a true professional in however you’re employed, you don’t say that you going to do that. You either do it or you don’t do it. But once you say you’re going to do that, you’re exposing yourself and others,” he said.

“If he’s divulging information like ‘I’m a spy and I worked with the SSA and I was given a stipend’…he’s releasing too much information and that can be dangerous…he has put himself in that position if what I read is true.”

Neighbours shocked at ‘spy’ claims

Shocked is how the neighbours of Pastor Ian Brown feel after the raid of his home on Saturday and his subsequent claims of being a spy for the Strategic Services Agency (SSA).

When Newsday visited the Jerusalem Bride Church in Arima on Tuesday, it was closed and so was Brown’s home a few metres away.

Every neighbour this reporter approached to ask their thoughts on the situation chuckled before saying they knew nothing of his activities.

“This is total madness. I laughing since yesterday (Monday),” said one woman.

“But who knows?”

One woman said she and Brown grew up together as children and “everybody was normal.”

Another neighbour said he never saw anything strange happening near the church, although there was a problem with drugs on the street.

Another woman said she was surprised when she heard about the situation but “anything is possible with anybody right now.”

Another neighbour was shocked at the raid and said that and Brown’s claims were shocking to the community.

He said, living in the area his whole life, he knew Brown, his parents, grandparents and sons, and they were all peaceful people.

He added that he had never seen or heard about any adopted daughters of Brown until he read it in the newspapers.

He said Brown was a “straightforward” person and had been that way since he was young.

“I haven’t seen him around since Sunday but he is not a man who is be on the road. I really can’t say anything bad about him.”