The archbishop said the perpetrator spoke in slogans associated with the Rastafarian religion, and he offered to meet with Rastafarian leaders, who have distanced themselves from the crime.
"[If] we met and had some dialogue so that there would be better understanding and that we could also look at the language that we use in religious groups and to see [if] it is language that builds peace or is our language that creates conflict and can lead to violence."
Peter 'Ras Ipa' Isaac, a former President of the Iyanola Council for the Advancement of Rastafari (ICAR), demanded an apology in response to the archbishop's remarks. He told local media the perpetrator should not be assumed to be Rastafarian simply because he wears his hair in dreadlocks, a style with religious meaning for Rastafarians, or because he used language associated with the religion.
"Not everyone who misses a fall and says 'Oh Jesus' is a Christian," Isaac told the St. Lucia Times.
"For Archbishop Rivas to suggest that this young man is a Rasta and he is requesting discussion with the Rastafarian community is insulting," he added.
Isaac said he was personally insulted by the remark.
"We want Rivas to apologise to the Rastafarian community and to me as a Rasta because I do not take lightly to calling anyone who has matted hair a Rasta," Isaac added.
There are approximately one million Rastafarians worldwide, most of them resident in the Caribbean. On the island nation of St. Lucia, which has a population of roughly 200,000, there are fewer than 4,000 Rastas. The majority of the nation's population is Catholic.
In his remarks, Archbishop Rivas stressed the importance of forgiveness.
"What happened in Pierrot should never have happened, and we don't want it to happen again. We should be taking the measures [to ensure] it doesn't happen again …. by having hearts that are willing to forgive and to be understanding, to be kind and gentle," he said.
"These are all virtues that Jesus has taught us, and if we can practice them we can change the world which we live, and make it a better place for all."
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