Rochard stunned parishioners at his Sunday morning mass at the Church of the Assumption in Maraval yesterday, not to give weapons or assistance to this witness.
Noted for his outspoken approach to national issues, Rochard paused during his homily and gave strict orders to the congregation — ‘do not encourage the witness on the compound even though he is a member of the parish and often receives help from the St Vincent De Paul Society in the church yard.’’
Rochard added, “This man saw the people who gunned down his friends. I have consulted with the St Vincent De Paul Society and the Parish Committee for Social Justice, and we decided that he not attend church or come to the compound at all. He is a risk and the community will be at risk if he is here. I don’t want people to come here to spray no bullets.”
Sitting in the foyer of his residence on the church compound, Rochard explained that the witness was drinking with his friends only a few days ago and those friends have since been murdered. The witness, according to the priest, has gone into hiding. However, the church continues to assist him through the St Vincent De Paul Society.
Rochard was hesitant to specify which of the recent murders the man witnessed, but he said that information suggested that a drug deal went sour and his parishioner saw the whole incident. The concerned priest said it was his duty to inform the flock of the witness whom he named openly.
“If people know he is here,” the priest said, “they may try to eliminate him and innocent people might be killed or get hurt, we already had reports that suspicious persons were asking for him in Dibe last Thursday, that tells me he is a target. If they want him, they would have to look elsewhere,” Rochard added.
There have been several reports of burglaries and other crimes in and around the Church of the Assumption. Rochard himself admitted that “quiet and loud surveillance equipment have been installed both at the church and the vestry.” The parish priest said, “crime has taken over the country, there is no quick fix, but it can be remedied without politics. Standard values, civility and simple manners have gone out the door. Animals at the Emperor Valley Zoo are tamer than the classrooms now.”
He was disappointed that corporal punishment in schools was outlawed saying, “when you cannot correct children in the classrooms, then you are telling them they are right in everything they do. The police could probably deal with some of it but crime is at different levels and we must intercept it from early,” he added.