Reactions from former members of the Kevin Smith-led Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Ministries yesterday ranged from joy, disbelief that he had died, to concern that he had not had a chance to repent before his demise.
One member also held the view that the death of the man whom the police were on the verge of charging with two counts of murder, two counts of wounding with intent, and one count of and illegal possession of a firearm was “too convenient”.
“A long time him fi dead because a nuff people life him mash up. So if him never dead this way him woulda must dead another way. This is the perfect justice. Prison never did a go help him,” said one man who had once placed his faith in Smith. He, like the others who spoke with the Jamaica Observer, did not want to be identified by name.
The police yesterday confirmed that Smith died in a crash that also claimed the life of police Constable Orlando Irons and left two other lawmen injured. Smith had been under investigation in connection with the slaughter, two Sundays ago, of two of his followers in a bizarre night that some say involved human sacrifice. During the bloody ritual at Pathways International’s Albion location in St James, in addition to the people killed three others were injured. One man was shot dead by the police after he allegedly charged at lawmen with a knife.
However, yesterday one former follower, who still considered Smith a “good man”, was unconvinced about is death.
“I do not believe anything the media publish about him, not even that he is dead. But if he is, he didn’t die in that car accident; he was dead before,” the woman told the Observer.
She said, though she had not been an active member of the religious group for some time, she had kept in touch with Smith via his many Facebook status updates.
“From what I know… this man, to my knowledge, was a good [man]. I’m saddened by the news, if it is true. But, like he said, his work here has ended and it is time for him to go,” said the woman.
“I have no intention of being a part of the scandal created [against] this man. I have no intention of being judgemental… everyone has their opinions of him. At this point, mine is that I have never had an encounter where this man was less of a mentor to myself,” she told the Observer.
“He prophesied over me, and my children are living breathing testimonies to that. There’s no amount of evidence that can tell me otherwise,” she added.
Another member of Smith’s now fractured flock, who was at the scene of the ritual that has shocked the entire country and beyond, expressed concern for Smith’s fate when he appears before God.
“I wish he had a chance to repent,” he said, even as the country awaited final confirmation of Smith’s passing.
“The Bible says that you should not rejoice over your enemies, so I am not rejoicing; I am saddened for many reasons. In the word of God it says that it is not the will of God that any soul shall perish. [I am also sad] for the officers that were transporting him; this is really sad,” the man told the Observer.
“I am not going to question God about it, but all I can say is, even if others are rejoicing, I am not rejoicing. I rejoice over [nobody’s] demise. This is just a lot,” said the man.
Meanwhile, one man, who said he was a member of the religious organisation for years, told the Observer that Smith’s passing is “too convenient.”
“Hearing about his passing, for me, was surprising, but also too convenient. I’m just waiting to see what else comes up,” he said.
Smith died during a three-vehicle collision on the Linstead bypass in St Catherine. He was being transported from Montego Bay, where he was being held at Freeport Police Station, to the police Major Investigation in Kingston to be formally charged.