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Pastor, Rasta in viral video make peace

The Denham Town evangelist who was seen in a video being attacked by a Rastafarian man while delivering a spirited sermon in Arnett Gardens is calling the altercation a blessing.

A short video of the incident, which surfaced on social media over the ’emanci-pendence’ weekend, shows the evangelist, Valancy Hawes, declaring, “Hol’ yuh position, Satan,” at an open-air service on Eighth Street (popularly called Mexico) in Arnett Gardens. The Rastafarian man, Steve Richards, who is an electrician from the community, in the video walked up to the pastor and threw a colourless liquid from a cup at the preacher.

Police later identified the liquid to be rum.

Microphone still in hand, Hawes is seen using his right leg to kick at the attacker, who advanced towards him again. Hawes retaliated by charging from the podium and wrestling Richards to the ground, where he pinned him to cheers by the excited onlookers.

“It wasn’t a war between flesh,” Hawes told the Jamaica Observer yesterday. “Mi know say is principality and power, so mi can’t look pon it like mi want to war the Rastaman, because it bigger than the Rastaman. It never really was a fight. I was just trying to stop the whole thing from escalating further, so mi take down the Rasta; put him down, calm him, and that’s it. The mission was to get the Rasta restrained and then move on.”

A repentant Richards, meanwhile, blamed his actions on “too much partying”.

“That altercation shouldn’t have happened because we are both spiritual kings’ men, so we are supposed to be doing the same thing,” Richards said.

“But there was a little too much partying earlier in the day for me, and I think that’s what caused the whole altercation. But we are moving on. We are holding up our heads and ensuring that we are on the mission for the almighty,” the Rastafarian declared.

Meanwhile, the police, who have been maintaining a strong presence in the Arnett Gardens and Denham Town communities as part of the ongoing enhanced security measures, used the widely criticised religious clash as a tool to promote peace in the area.

Detective Woman Inspector of Police Pilmar Powell said: “We partner with them because this will go out to show Jamaica that war is not the answer. Peace must come at the end of the day. We will continue to do our social intervention, wherein there are different issues – both sociological and psychological.”

She continued: “It’s not all about lock-up. There are times when we have to think about the transformation of the mindset. Once the mind is transformed, then we can see better products coming out in our society through the power of Jesus Christ.”

Evangelist Hawes also used to the incident to further his ministry, urging members of the public who viewed the video to get right with God.

“It can happen to you, too, when the pastor a preach. That’s why it’s up to you to give your life to Jesus, because if you don’t do it, the devil will use you to act. That’s how the devil works,” he warned.