Greetings and welcome to the National Rastafari Secretariat and Trust (NRST).
During one of His early meetings with Rastafari brethren in the 1960’s, it’s reported that His Imperial Majesty instructed Rastafari elders to organize and centralize the movement. While there have been a number of organizations seeking to unite our people, there is still no cohesive organizational unity among the wider community of Rastafari in Barbados.
Some Rastafari in Barbados are fragmented by theological differences and dispute. The development of Mansions, or denominations, of Rastafari has been good in that it gives everyone in the movement a voice. But it has also been the primary cause of internal division amongst us, with each Mansion defending their own theology in reasoning’s, stagnate the overall development of the movement. As such adversaries are made of those with whom we should be working to solve the problems we face in our communities.
How do we solve this problem? The only solution is to turn to the Teachings of His Majesty, which tell us clearly that “Religion is personal.” Remembering this key principle, we seek to base these efforts for unity on respecting the right of each Mansion and individual to their own religious principles within the larger context of Rastafari. This will help to remove some of the distractions that have divided us, and allow us to begin to work together in true unity.
The NRST is intended to create a place/office where all Rastafari can be represented, regardless of theological differences that may exist between Mansions, to achieve the economic and social objectives we share in common. To put aside anything that threatens to divide us, and exploit the areas of agreement and common interest. That is the Teaching of His Majesty. That is the goal we choose to pursue.
What is a Secretariat?
It is a group or department of secretaries. The department or office is comprised of officials entrusted with administrative duties, maintaining records, and overseeing or performing secretarial duties. An example of this would be the United Nations Secretariat.
What is a Registry?
A registry is a collection of all the official records relating to something, or the place where they are kept.
What is a Trust?
A trust is a relationship where property is held by one party for the benefit of another party. … A trust is created by the owner (in this case the Rastafari community), also called a “settlor”, “trustor” or “grantor” who transfers property to a trustee. The trustee holds that property for the trust’s beneficiaries.
What is the NRST?
It is a secretariat being created to felicitate the organizing and centralization of the affairs ( sharing of information) of the Rastafari community in Barbados.
Who owns the NRST?
The NRST will be registered as a Charity. It will be governed by 3 Trustees and a board of directors. The board of directors is intended to have representation from each mansion and organization. Its daily operations will be overseen by a Secretary General and staff as needed. The Rastafari community owns the NRST.
What is the National Rastafari Registry (NRR)?
It is a department of the NRST that is responsible for the collection of Rastafari contact information. This information will be used to create various databases. A database is an organized collection of structured information, or data, typically stored electronically in a computer system. One such data base that will be created is a database of Rastafari elders, another is of Rastafari businesses.
Why does the Rastafari community need the NRST and NRR?
- The voice of the collective is stronger than that of the individual when advocating and agitating for positive change.
- Accessing government or private assistance is more attainable when it is sought for with the agreement of the community speaking with one voice.
- It enables Rastafari mansions and organizations internationally to have a central place to send their information intended for distribution to the Rastafari community in Barbados.
- It enables governments and private agencies a central place to send their information that is intended for distribution within the Rastafari community in Barbados.
- It enables, organizations, mansions and individuals a central place to send their information that is intended for distribution with the Rastafari community in Barbados.
- It is a place where Rastafari can lodge issues of injustice they are facing in the Barbadian society. The NRST will then direct these issues to their relevant places and follow up on them.
- It is the office that the National Rastafari Registry and Trust Fund will operate from.
- Information gathered by the registry will allow for a better mapping of Rastafari in Barbados. As such, the location of our elders will be known, as well as the more vulnerable. This will assist the various organizations and mansions of Rastafari to better fulfil the creed. Through the NRR Rastafari can be made more aware of local and international opportunities for social or economic development that can be accessed by them.
- Rastafari business information collected by the NRR will afford for the opportunity to create a Rastafari business directory.
- The NRR will oversee and manage the National Rastafari ID system.
What is the National Rastafari Trust Fund?
Rastafari registered with the NRR are asked to make monthly donations of $10 or $120 annually to the Rastafari Trust Fund. This Fund is managed by the Trustees of the NRST, and used for the purchase of property to use for Rastafari developmental purposes. It will also be used for prudent Rastafari trade and investment, and to assist with Repatriation. The fund will also be used to assist with emergency disaster relief in the Rastafari community.
What is the National Rastafari ID Card?
This is an ID card given to all members of the Rastafari community registered in the NRR. These cards will be used to help members of the NRR access business/economic and social programs and initiatives directed at the Rastafari community. It must be noted that this ID card is in no way related to the Barbados National ID card.
Who is responsible for these works?
The idea of better Rastafari unification through structures such as the NRST and NRR are not new. Ras Simba Akoma who works within the framework of Rastafari Progressive Movements put forward the idea for the NRST and NRR, and it was supported by the executive council of that collective. Ras Simba Akoma and Empress Andrea Marshall are the two officers within that collective who are managing the early phases of the development of the NRST and NRR.
Ras Simba Akoma is a member of the Rastafari community for over 30 years. He is widely known on the Barbadian landscape for his activism within the areas of homeschool (education) and empowering social cannabis reform. He is the founder and present president of the African Heritage Foundation, a charitable organization who has and continues to assist the Rastafari community in its development. He presently manages a whatsapp study chat that focused on the life of Haile Selassie, and is the creator and Editor “n” Chief of the new Rastafari newspaper, “The Rastafari Vision”.
Empress Andrea Marshall is a well-respected member of the Rastafari community for over 20 years. She is the owner of “To The Root Health and Culture Shop”, and is very interested and active in assisting her community develop.
Who can sign up in the NRR?
All Rastafari with Barbadian residence or citizenship over the age of 16 can register.
Please note that all information received by the NRR is confidential. This fact will be reflected in the constitution of the NRST. Anyone found violating the order of confidentiality will face disciplinary actions that may include dismissal from their post within the NRR and NRST. It may also include if found to be of necessity, legal recourse and public divulging of the offence to members of the NRR.
Should you have more questions pertaining to the NRST, NRR or the Trust Fund, please contact Ras Simba Akoma at 268 7084. This is a Whatsapp number. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
The NRST is a nondenominational organ of the Rastafari community whose main goal is to facilitate cooperation amongst Rastafari in Barbados within its work statically. To accomplish this, we seek to provide a platform/office through which all members of the Rastafari community can put their theological differences aside and work together to achieve the aims and objectives shared in common.
NRST not a Mansion. Members registered with the NRR come from all Mansions. All are welcome to join us in this work. What we seek is to advance the mission of Rastafari through cooperative measures among mansions, organizations and individuals. The focus of our efforts are social justice, economic empowerment and educational institutions. Through these works, and collective adherence to the Teachings of His Majesty, we can serve both the Rastafari people and the communities where we live.
“The force of this unity must be based on community of interests, so that the individual, without as a result suffering neglect or prejudice, may understand the power of this unity and the advantages to be drawn from it in the protection of his personal interests, whilst at the same time renouncing all personal ambition which would be to the detriment of the common goal.”3 — Haile Selassie I
Ras Simba Akoma