Keep us free from evil powersMonday, October 25, 2021
The reports about the leader of Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Ministries Kevin Smith has become more and more curious as the story unfolds. How could this man have become so powerful in his 'ark' in St James that his followers obeyed his alleged instructions to offer up human sacrifice?
This particular story was published in the Lipstick Alley blog in March 2020.
On behalf of two families, a woman said she had booked a house in St James in January of 2020 on Airbnb. When they arrived, they discovered that the host, Carlette, who had confirmed the booking, had sold the house to none other than Pastor Kevin Smith.
This is what she says happened to them on the second day of their visit: “We get to the house and there are three cars on the property… one dude is sitting in a black Escalade just waiting… He's like, 'I own this house.' ”
She continued, “Diane has lived on this property as a housekeeper for over five years, she's getting fired and he has his goons start moving all her [items] out of the guest house immediately… In the middle of all this, I notice that the new owner's employees were acting really weird around him, like they were afraid of him. I also heard one guy call him 'Your Excellency'. So, I asked the property manager what's the deal with the new owner and he's like, 'He's a descendant of Queen Sheba' … Apparently he's a bishop and owns a church somewhere in Jamaica also.”
She went on to say, “Fast-forward to the 22nd. We're mildly uncomfortable because, at this point, we've noticed that one of his excellency's goons is on the property 100 per cent of the time. We were never in the house alone. We have three young children, not including my baby…Two days later there was a crazy rainstorm. It's now Feb 24th. My mom wants to go out on the balcony to film the storm but noticed that the door is locked. She goes to check all the other doors. Locked. We're locked in the house.”
They get permission eventually from “His Excellency”, she said, to go out and arrange with an apologetic Carlette to move to another villa. After they returned and packed their belongings, however, she said, allegedly on orders from Smith, the property manager locked them in the house again. They managed to escape from the house but the gate on the property was locked. They had to throw their luggage over the fence, climb over and jump to safety.
“We go straight to the police station to file a report,” she said, but was told that there was “no law in Jamaica against locking people in a house. No one put their hands on you, so no real laws were broken”.
The drama continued: “So we argue with the police for about an hour when His Excellency shows up at the station. He wants to press charges against us for illegally staying at his house without having paid to stay there. I immediately pull up my Airbnb receipts …We're like, 'Alright let's just get to this new house before someone tries to kill us.' We… get to the new house and, literally, just sat there and cried for an hour. Every single one of us.”
Just one month later in March 2020, at the beginning of the novel coronavirus pandemic, as reported by Rochelle Clayton in the Jamaica Observer last Friday, Smith, as alleged by one of his followers, offered his congregants protection from the virus in his ark, demanding $100,000 for entry and had them sleeping on a concrete floor in a state of near starvation for a month.
Clearly Smith had a hold on the congregants as after this ordeal the victim is quoted as saying, “Time passed and we started going back to church.”
Sadly, the ill-fated Tameka Gardner, who lost her life at the church, remained devoted to Smith, despite the warning signs.
Reports are that she was persuaded to replace the names of her mother and son with Smith's on her insurance policy. Thankfully for her family, there was an error in the request, so the change did not go through. It is alleged that her killing was ordered when she was accused of taking the vaccine, yet her co-workers are convinced that she was against the vaccine and had not taken it.
This column has been appealing to the church groups to have a system for carrying out due diligence to verify the integrity of those who present themselves as pastors. Now that people have lost their lives, Government must step in and insist on a registration system for churches. Let us follow the example of the Rwanda Government which passed laws recently to have strict regulations for those who wish to be pastors.
We have received reports of fully vaccinated elderly people with comorbidities being hospitalised with COVID-19. The US has now determined that the elderly and people with serious health conditions should be allowed to receive booster shots and so we are appealing to the Ministry of Health to allow this to be done here instead of dumping vaccines.
We also support Professor Peter Figueroa's call for private doctors to be invited to participate in the vaccination programme. Family doctors have built trusting relationships with their patients and may very well be able to convince hesitant individuals better than any campaign.
We join with UNICEF Jamaica in appealing for the reopening of schools in January. They note that 120,000 children have received no education since schools closed.
The Fi Wi Children Foundation notes that, “Schools are not just a place to gain academic knowledge. They support social well-being, mental health, and dramatically help to reduce the risk of violence.”
We hope the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) will appeal to their members to get vaccinated.
Climate change emergency
Even Queen Elizabeth has remarked that not enough is being done to address climate change. From October 31 to November 12, the UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow. The objective is to take stronger action to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The COP26 website warns: “If we continue as we are, temperatures will carry on rising, bringing even more catastrophic flooding, bush fires, extreme weather, and destruction of species. We have made progress in recent months to bend the temperature curve closer to two degrees Celsius but the science shows that much more must be done to keep 1.5 degrees Celsius in reach. The world needs to halve emissions over the next decade and reach net zero carbon emissions by the middle of the century if we are to limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees.”
Jamaica is classified as a small island developing state (SID), far more at risk than the developed countries which are the biggest carbon emitters. Let us do as much as we can to move the objectives of COP26 forward – our very lives depend on it.