Thu | Nov 21, 2019

Yahweh critics ‘sold out to the devil’ - Sect leader says heading to OPM for intervention

Published:Thursday | November 7, 2019 | 12:22 AMAdrian Frater and Albert Ferguson/Gleaner Writers
Members of the Qahal Yahweh congregation gather around police and soldiers who had stormed the compound to take into custody three children who were reportedly victims of neglect.

WESTERN BUREAU:

In a sweeping condemnation of Church and State, one of the reputed leaders of the controversial Qahal Yahweh congregation in Paradise, Montego Bay, has labelled the media and critics of his sect as being “sold out to the devil”.

Omar Thompson, who leads the group alongside his brother Javaughn, yesterday slammed an operation by the police and military on Tuesday when they faced stiff resistance in taking into custody three children who were suspected to be victims of neglect.

“Let me tell you something. The Saviour who died on the cross for your sins and mine, His name is Yeshua, not Jesus Christ ... . That is the basis for most of the attacks,” Thompson told The Gleaner.

“The allegations that are coming on to us here is because we are not Christians, we are not fornicators, we are not liars, we don’t go to church, and we don’t serve Jesus Christ.”

Brought before the court

His congregation, like some other affiliates across Jamaica, places supremacy on Yeshua as the son of God and views adherents of traditional Christianity, who worship Jesus, as heretics.

Last Thursday, the Thompson brothers and teacher Vera Woolery were brought before the St James Family Court to answer charges of neglect after a mother who lived at the compound broke ranks with the group.

Three children were also taken into custody in a police operation last Thursday.

Thompson said the outrage against his sect was misplaced.

“Is there no one with sense in Jamaica?” asked Thompson, adding that he would be seeking to take theirs concern to the Office of the Prime Minister.

The Qahal Yahweh group, which is being investigated by the Child Protection and Family Services Agency, as well as the police, is being accused of a range of atrocities, including human trafficking, child abuse, abduction, and sexual assault.

Meanwhile, as investigators continue to probe the sect, the Office of the Children’s Advocate is keeping a close eye on the probe.

According to Children’s Advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison, her office became aware of the situation late last week and has been actively working with several agencies to crack the case.

“It is too early to say,” Gordon Harrison said in response to queries about claims of child trafficking or forced marriage. “I would prefer that all or, in fact, a substantial amount of greater information is added before making a public comment on that ... but it is something that would have to be questioned and examined very carefully.”

The children’s advocate said further that her office would be taking steps to preserve the best interests of the children who were removed from the compound.

Gordon Harrison, however, is concerned that she is yet to get answers to many questions she has asked with regard to the conditions under which the children were being housed at the Yahweh compound.

“I am very concerned because of unanswered questions that I have concerning the activities that the children who are on the compound were exposed to and what they are involved in,” said Gordon Harrison, who was attending a human-trafficking conference in Montego Bay yesterday.