The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, says her Ministry has contributed a further Seventy-eight Million dollars into the Trust Fund for victims of the 1963 Coral Gardens incident.
It means that the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport has now contributed more than Ninety Million dollars into the Rastafari Coral Gardens Trust, which was officially established in December 2019.
The Trust is managed by the Administrator General of Jamaica.
Minister Grange said this represents the government’s irrevocable commitment to a programme of reconciliation with the Rastafari community.
Minister Grange said:
“There is no doubt that the events of Coral Gardens in 1963 have left physical, psychological and emotional scars on the Rastafari community and in particular on those who survived the incident. It has been decades of pain and anger, but my government is committed to taking the steps to make things right. Prime Minister Andrew Holnesss has apologised in Parliament to the victims. We have established the Trust Fund for the survivors; the Public Defender recommend a Fund of no less than 10 million dollars, today we have contributed 90 million dollars into the Fund. And we’re taking other steps, working with the Rastafari Coral Gardens Benevolent Society, and other members of the community, to right this great wrong.”
In addition to the contributions to the Trust Fund, Minister Grange said the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport is also giving special housing support for four survivors of the Coral Gardens incident.
Minister Grange said:
“We have provided funding in the amount of Six Million dollars to the Rastafari Coral Gardens Benevolent Society to run an interim care home for four of the survivors who need special care. We are moving to finalise an arrangement with the Benevolent Society for the management of the care home over the next five years, with the aim of establishing a permanent facility for aged survivors.
I continue to thank the Benevolent Society, Food for the Poor, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, and our Cultural Liaison on Rastafari Affairs, Mrs Barbara Blake Hannah for all that they continue to do for the survivors.”
Mrs Blake Hannah, a known expert in Rastafari heritage and matters relating to the welfare of the community, was appointed a Cultural Liaison on Rastafari Affairs as part of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport’s thrust to ensure that matters concerning Rastafari are appropriately addressed.
The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, through the National Council for Reparation, will sponsor the annual commemoration of the Coral Gardens 1963 incident dubbed ‘Bad Friday’ on April 10. The commemoration will take place online because of the restrictions introduced to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.