Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Sunday | September 19, 2010
Home : News
Criminals, cops appeal to higher power
Pastor Bobby Wilmot has heard the appeals from men in the line of fire for a connection to and protection by a higher power.

Having hosted the Prayer Line for 17 years, Wilmot says he has had "multiple calls from security personnel - policemen, soldiers, security guards - as well as persons on the other side of the law, all looking for spiritual protection".

Then, as a pastor at Covenant City Church in Majesty Gardens - after serving for a long time in Trench Town - Wilmot has come into contact with many men who "defend corners" but still feel a need to have a connection with God.

"One of my first encounters was with Radcliffe (Rowe), a gunman from Mexico (Arnett Gardens). I sent a message to his girlfriend."

However, Radcliffe replied that he had no time to see a pastor as he was all right. Radcliffe was killed in a gun battle with the police in Arnett Gardens in 1992.

"Him say him have up him guard ring. Him protected," Wilmot said.

"I have heard several people, badman, who talk about them guard ring, or them get fix up, so nothing can do them. I have talked to a lot of 'shottas' who have the New Testament in them back pocket or them breast pocket and say 'Pastor, I read my Psalm daily'," added Wilmot.

In Trench Town, in the 1990s, when the war was 'hot', Wilmot said he would see young men who stood guard all night.

They would say "Me deh pon it", Wilmot recalled. And many of them would say "Pray for me", asking for protection.

"There were times when I got vexed. I would say, 'You have to change your life, boss. God no just protect you so'," a passionate Wilmot said.

No final step

Still, the need for spirituality brought many gangsters closer to the Church physically, but most times not to the point of taking the final repentant step.

Wilmot said at crusades in Majesty Gardens, the gangsters would "wings off" in the darkness near the tent and he would send his voice out to them, "the man down there so".

There was a gangster named 'Glennos' there who got to the stage of calling Wilmot and requesting prayer, but did not take the further step.

"I could not get to Glennos," Wilmot said. "He was eventually murdered."

Still, there are others who gave up the gangster lifestyle as they got older, but "yet it come back and kill them", Wilmot said.

However, Wilmot argued that there is some level of protection in changing to a life of Christianity: "I think even the badman, they respect sincerity. And God uses that. That is the protection."

And there is also the matter of paying for the crimes. Wilmot pointed out that many men find the true spiritual connection only when they are in prison.

"God is of justice, not only penitence," Wilmot said.

- M.C.

Home | Lead Stories | News | Business | Sport | Commentary | Letters | Entertainment | Arts & Leisure | Outlook | In Focus | Auto |