Kingston – At least 39 members of the controversial Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Ministries, whose pastor died in a vehicular accident on Monday, have been fined a total of J$1.17 million after pleading guilty to breaches of the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA).
The members, who appeared in the St James Parish Court on Wednesday also face 20 days in jail if the fines are not paid.
Since March 10, last year, the Jamaica government has employed the Disaster Risk Management Act as the primary legislative tool to manage the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Clause 52 also contains the Sixth Schedule, which addresses the list of fixed penalties for breaches.
It has levels, or tiers of fixed penalties, which range from J$3 000 for first-level offences to J$500 000 for offences at the 10th level. There are 40 offences specified that attract these fixed penalties.
Failure to wear a mask in public, not keeping the six-foot physical distancing rule, or breaching the protocols governing public transportation will attract a J$5 000 fine.
In addition, if persons fail to stay in an abode or place of residence during a curfew, they could face a fine of J$10 000.
On October 17, 42 members of the church were arrested by police following a stand-off with law enforcement authorities who had been alerted to the premises where a three-day convention was being held.
One member of the group was shot dead after reportedly attacking the police, while two others are believed to have been killed as part of a ritual.
On Monday, Kevin Smith, the pastor of the Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Ministries, died as he was being driven in an unmarked police vehicle from the Freeport Police Station in St James, south of here, to the police headquarters in the capital, Kingston.
A police officer, identified as Orlando Irons, 26, also died in the vehicular accident, while two others were seriously injured. (CMC)