The Catholic Commission on Racial Justice issued a report in 1982 on the injustices suffered by Rastafari.
1 .Rastafarianism should be recognized as a valid religion, and the members and leaders of other religious groups should attempt to engage the proponents of Rastafarianism in dialogue with a view to mutual learning and sharing.
2. Christians and Christian churches should take whatever opportunities they may have or are able to create to relate to Rastafarians as they would to the believers of other non-christian faiths. For instance, Rastafarians often lack places to meet, and Christian churches could consider allowing Rastafarians to use their premises.
3. The Christian churches and other religious groups should exercise appropriate influence over their own institutions (for example, schools, children’s homes etc) so that they might relate to the members of the Rastafarian movement with true knowledge and sound understanding rather than with an attitude born of fear, ignorance, and prejudice.
4. Rastafarian styles of dress (for example, locks and head-dress) should be accepted as authentic religious expressions and legitimate cultural forms.
5. The Home Office should use its influence to ensure that penal institutions have regard for these legitimate forms, etc.
6. All authority figures should scrupulously avoid any form of harassment and discrimination against Rastafarians. It is especially important that professional workers such as teachers, social workers, police and prison and probation officers should be sensitive to the tendency to stereotype black people, in general, and Rastafarians, in particular.
7. Social and community work agencies should take positive steps to serve a multiracial, multicultural society and in so doing recognize the importance of learning from and correctly representing the variety of culturally based views and practices. Rastafarians should be in a genuine position of not only obtaining effective help but also giving it.
In Barbados the Rastafari community is reading itself to take the government to court for the right to use cannabis legally for their sacrament. An article in a Bahamian newspaper “The Tribune” titled ” Rastafarians Plan To Sue For Religious Use Of Marijuana” dated June 14th 2019, reported that “LEGAL action from the Rastafarian community may speed up the government’s track on cannabis reform as one group has announced plans to sue for religious use. Barbados Rastafari is not alone in their quest for cannabis justice.
In the Bahamas The Bobo Ashanti – formally known as the Ethiopia Africa Black International Congress (EABIC) – have given the government 10 days to indicate a willingness to grant a licence for the cultivation, possession and supply of Indian hemp or face a lawsuit on the grounds that a refusal breaches their constitutional right to religious freedom. The letter argues that Roman Catholic and Anglican churches are allowed to give alcohol to confirmed minors as a religious sacrament while Rastafarians are criminalized”.
Another article dated July 11th reported:
Locally “The Order of the Nyabinghi Theocracy Reign” is properly calling for the legalization of Cannabis in Barbados. “We believe that full legalization with control over growth, quality and distribution is the better means of minimizing any unease presumed associated with Cannabis emancipation. We also believe that other benefits, such as added revenue, reduced expenditure on law enforcement, decoupling of Cannabis from regional Drug statutes, would be advantages to the systems over partial decriminalization. Although full legalization may entail renegotiation’s of or withdrawal from the Multiple Narco-psycho tropic substances conventions of 1961, 1971, 1988 respectively, we believe that in terms of Article 23 and 28 of the former convention, controlled cultivation of Cannabis may in fact not be in conflict.” Ivine Order of the Nyabinghi Theocracy Reign
It is the profound desire of the order of the Nyabinghi Theocracy Reign, that the matter of the legalization of cannabis for sacramental use by Rastafari does not reach the courts of law. The Order of the Nyabinghi Theocracy Reign is resolved in its position that the sacramental use of cannabis for recreational use by Rastafari cannot be determined by a public referendum. As such if the government is intent on pursuing a referendum that amalgamates sacrament with recreation, no option is left but to challenge the government in the courts of law for our human rights as it pertains to our religious freedom.
Article compiled by Simba Simba – Cannabis Criminal by order of the BLP 2019