Statement on Valeska Guider and The Freewinds
November 30, 2011
CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY INTERNATIONAL
Tabloid media in Australia have concocted a bizarre tale concerning the Church of Scientology and its religious retreat, the Motor Vessel Freewinds, based solely on the fabrication of an apostate disgruntled ex-member.
Valeska Guider served as a crew member aboard the Freewinds religious retreat as a volunteer, religious worker. She was an adult and there of her own free will as part of her religious commitment to the Church of Scientology. The Freewinds is a passenger vessel with hundreds of people aboard. Ms. Guider’s staff positions as a waitress, course instructor and staff counselor regularly placed her in contact with many parishioners and staff. She met the man to whom she was married from 1998-2005 and who affirms that her claims of being held against her will are utterly false. She left the Freewinds hundreds of times to go shopping, for outings with her husband on the islands of St. Kitts, Aruba, St. Barts and Curaçao, and for numerous other reasons. She went on extended trips to the United Kingdom, United States and Denmark passing through Immigration and Customs when entering and leaving these countries. Her claims are false.
The Freewinds, based in the Caribbean, is a religious retreat where Scientologists come for events, conventions, courses and spiritual counseling. The Freewinds is visited regularly by officials from the islands and countries it visits. It also serves as a training vessel and has become the regional authority on maritime security and trains law enforcement and military personnel. A recent Meritorious Public Service Award from United States Homeland Security, awarded to the Freewinds by the United States Coast Guard, describes the Freewinds as the “premier training platform throughout the Caribbean Basin.” It further acknowledges continuous instruction of Caribbean personnel in what is described as the “highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard’s core values—honor, respect and devotion to duty.”
The Freewinds also helps to advance the Church’s humanitarian initiatives throughout the Caribbean region and has received numerous acknowledgements for its work in the fields of drug abuse education and prevention, human rights, morals education and literacy.