Pathways 39 pay $1.17 million in finesThursday, October 28, 2021
MONTEGO BAY, St James — After pleading guilty and paying a total of $1.17 million in fines, all 39 members of Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Ministries hauled before the court yesterday have escaped serving time for breaches of the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA).
They would each have had to spend 20 days in prison had they not paid $30,000 per person when they appeared before the St James Parish Court.
Members of the group were inconspicuous among the approximately 300 people who appeared before the court, most on similar charges of DRMA breaches. In order to minimise crowding and observe measures put in place to curb spread of the novel coronavirus, cases were dealt with in two separate courtrooms. In one, those who opted to pay a fine instead of face trial were fined $20,000 or 10 days in prison, while in the other room individuals were mostly charged $30,000 each or 20 days.
It was unclear whether the appearance of the Pathways 39 was responsible for the modest crowd gathered outside the building, which was being closely monitored by police and soldiers.
Members of the organisation, now widely viewed as a cult, were among 41 people taken into police custody on October 17 after a bloody ritual at Pathways' Albion, St James, location. Their leader, Kevin Smith, died in a motor vehicle crash on Monday while being transported from Montego Bay to Kingston. He was on the verge of being charged with two counts of murder, two counts of wounding with intent and illegal possession of a firearm.
Meanwhile, 37-year-old André Ruddock, who was travelling in the second vehicle of the three-car convoy that ferried Smith, safely made it to Kingston and appeared before the Home Circuit Court yesterday to answer to one count of murder and one count of wounding with intent.
The cases all stemmed from the bizarre occurrences of October 17. The throats of two congregants were slashed and one man fatally shot after allegedly attacking the police who had intervened as they feared other lives were at risk. Three other congregants were severely injured during the incident.
— Anthony Lewis