Sun | Sep 19, 2021

Cops hold St Ann pastor for COVID church breaches

Published:Wednesday | March 3, 2021 | 12:23 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer
The Disaster Risk Management Act bans churches from hosting services with more than 10 congregants.
The Disaster Risk Management Act bans churches from hosting services with more than 10 congregants.

The pastor of a church in Windsor Heights, St Ann’s Bay, has been charged with breaching the Disaster Risk Management Act after the police were called to a worship service.

Charged is Christine McLean of the City of Refuge Endtime Prophetic Ministries church.

Also charged are a senior member and the armour bearer of the church.

Reports reaching The Gleaner are that a church service with more than 50 congregants was being held in breach of the coronavirus legislation.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced on Sunday that no more than 10 persons should attend church - and only in the delivery of virtual services.

Most of the congregants were reportedly not wearing masks or observing social-distance protocols. Despite being told by the police to desist and disperse, The Gleaner understands that the congregation stood their ground in defiance for more than an hour.

“On our arrival, we observed that a service was in full effect and that service had in excess of 55 persons inside the building, gathered worshipping and without masks,” said Deputy Superintendent Kevin Francis, who is in charge of operations for St Ann.

Francis said the police engaged the leadership of the church in discussion and sought to address the congregation. He also invited personnel from the St Ann Health Department to speak to the congregation on COVID-19 protocols.

“There was no compliance. As a result, the pastor who was leading the congregation was asked by the police to accompany us to the station,” Francis said.