A former member of Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Ministries, and Alan Ross, Executive Director of The Cult Education Institute
An unflattering portrayal of Kevin Smith, the now discredited leader of the religious group - Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Ministries - based in Montego Bay, was provided on Tuesday by a former member of the group.
The woman, speaking on Radio Jamaica's Beyond the Headlines, said one disturbing trait she observed was Smith's negative attitude towards women, saying "he didn't speak highly of women," referring to them in derogatory terms.
This, she said, made some persons uncomfortable, and she began to question the credibility of his ministry and her place within the group, contending that "church is supposed to uplifting people".
She added that Smith used force to discipline the boys who were part of the organization, alleging that he often beat them, "any time they misbehaved".
"Why would you beat somebody else's child?" she questioned.
The former member also claimed Mr Smith was pampered excessively by members of the organization, to the extent that he did not even fully dress himself, requiring assistance in that regard by the young men of the cult.
She revealed that he closely monitored the members interpersonal relationships, and this led to conflicts from time to time.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Clifford Chambers confirmed on Tuesday that Mr. Smith was being investigated for several offences, but declined to elaborate.
He said members of the group are cooperating with investigators.
Arising from the disturbing relevations emerging about the St. James based group, Jamaicans are being urged to be on the lookout for tell-tale signs of destructive cults.
A destructive cult is defined, in part, as a religious movement which causes harm to its members or other people, or which will likely do so.
Alan Ross, Executive Director of The Cult Education Institute, based in the United States, says there are common behaviors of the leaders of these cults which should raise a red flag.
Ross, speaking on Beyond the Headlines, characterised the head of a cult as "the all-powerful charismatic leader, who becomes an object of worship, has no meaningful accountability, and is the defining element and driving force of the group."
"Whatever he says is right is right; whatever he says is wrong is wrong, and there is no sense of checks and balances for this leader," he added.
He said the second core characteristic of such leaders is the manipulation of followers "to gain undue influence over them".
That is often seen in "the control of relationships... social isolation," he added.
Mr. Ross said when leaders of destructive cults gain control of their followers this usually leads to exploitation.