April 2, 2021 | Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie |
Rastafarians get promised house as part of compensation package for 1963 Coral Gardens massacre by police. Deputy PM Dr. The Honourable Horace Chang handed over the keys to the house located in Norwood to the Rastafarian representatives. There are also reports that Rastafarians are being discriminated against.
The secretary spoke out about discrimination against Rastafarians and has called on the Public Defender to intervene.
House Handed Over
In the meantime a house promised to Rastafarians as part of a settlement and compensation
for the 1963 Coral Gardens massacre has been handed over to the survivors of the Coral Gardens massacre and members of their Benovalent Society for the Rastafarian community. This followed an incident in which Rastafarians and police clashed in 1963. This was a massacre and a serious violation of their human rights . As a result of this 1963 incident Rastafarians were rounded up nationally and shaved. Some Rastafarians were arbitrarily arrested. Government has compensated them as promised.
Will the police apologize for atrocities against Rastafarians including violating their freedom of religious belief which dictates that they wear their hair in a certain style and use ganja as part of their religious rights?
Will the Public Defender move to assist these Rastas from various forms of discrimination? Only recently a child with a dread lock was denied entry to a school. The matter went to court and the court ruled against the parents. It short the court upheld the right of the school to enforce dress code regulations. The Secretary For Rastafarians in Coral Gardens has called for Protection from the Public Defender.
It is time we show due regard to Rastafarians. They are a self-reliant people who have impacted positively on our culture. They have their unique religion and use ganja as part of their sacramental rights in their worship services. Freedom of religion is enshrined in our constitution. We should ensure that they are respected. Bob Marley, was a strong supporter of the Faith and was a practicing Rastafarian who has brought much fame and glory to our region and Jamaica in particular. The Coral Gardens massacre was a scar on our country. Let us hope there will be no repeat of this shameful abuse of human rights. We note the compensation which has taken too long. Better late than never. Let this be the last such shameful misconduct against Rastafarians to occur.
Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is a poet, veteran journalist, who admire Rastafarians, have attended their celebrations and thinks they are an outstanding sect. He has International exposure.