Rastafari Community Tells Prime Minister To Keep Her Word

Members of the Rastafari community are calling on the Prime Minister of Barbados, the Hon. Mia Amor Mottley to honour her words, and meet with them on issues of grave concern. Issues that are negatively impacting their wellbeing, cultural, religious and human rights.

 

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In a letter to the Prime Minister dated the 18th January 2021, the Rastafari community stated that based on their modality of living, in particular health observances that encourage the use of natural herbs, seeds, barks, leaves and roots for medicinal purposes, special consideration for COVID-19 vaccine exemption is warranted.

 

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Further to this Rastafari are skeptical, and very cautious when putting any foreign or unknown substances into their bodies. As such, the Rastafari community has effectively sought legal exemption from the taking of vaccines for the purposes of entry into schools, destination overseas that require vaccination and for employment for many years now.

 

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In a document entitled, “AFFIDAVIT DECLARATION OF VACCINATION EXEMPTION”, it states, “ IMMUNIZATIONS OF A PERSON SHALL NOT BE REQUIRED FOR EMPLOYMENT, ADMISSION TO A SCHOOL OR OTHER INSTITUTION…. IF THE GUARDIAN, PARENT, OR ADULT WHO HAS ASSUMED RESPONSIBILITY FOR HIS OR HER CUSTODY AND CARE IN THE CASE OF A MINOR, THE PERSON MUST FILE WITH THE GOVERNMENT AUTHORITY, A LETTER OR AFFIDAVIT STATING THAT SUCH VACCINATION IS CONTRARY TO HIS/HER BELIEFS…”. It goes on to state, “ BARBADOS VACCINATION EXEMPTION – Exemption has been approved by The Laws of Barbados for school entry and/or attendance under the Health Act, Cap.44, Health Services (Communicable & Notifiable Diseases) Regulations, Regulation 12, Section (g) (ii) (b): “Provided that a certificate of immunization against any of the diseases specified in the Fourth Schedule shall not be required in the case of a child whose parent or guardian produces to the Head Teacher an affidavit stating his religious persuasion and that he objects on religious grounds to the immunization of the child.” The document concludes by stating, “ INTERNATIONAL VACCINATION EXEMPTION – Exemption has been ratified and approved by all United Nations members under WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION International Sanitary Regulations Article 83, Chapter IV: “each individual has the right of vaccination exemption.”

 

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As the divide in the society increases between the vaccinated and unvaccinated, the employer vs the employee, human rights vs human rights violations and democracy vs dictatorship, the Rastafari community seeks to have this issue of exemption resolved post haste.

 

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The African Heritage Foundation (AHF) a charitable organization that advocates for just representation and treatment of all Barbadians, with a focus on the African descended community, has been answering calls from Rastafari who are concerned that like many other Barbadians, they too are about to be forced into taking the “JAB” or lose their employment. As such, the AHF is duty bound to assist the Rastafari community in their call to the Prime Minister to be respected and met with. The AHF recalls hearing on national television the Prime Minister saying she would meet with the Rastafari community on this pressing issue, after some discussion on the matter was had on the popular radio talk show, “Down To Brass Tax”.  That discussion ensued as a result of an article in the newspaper that spoke of the Rastafari anti vaccination position. That statement by the Prime Minister was made a good couple curfews ago, and has not been honoured to date. In fact, what the Prime Minister did was to have employees in her office, create a Whatsapp chat where Rastafari could collectively meet and create a document that highlighted the pressing concerns the community. Please note that this was totally unnecessary as documentation upon documentation have been sent to the Prime Minister on this, and other matters relating to injustices handed out to the Rastafari community. Again it must be noted that one such document, related to COVID-19 vaccine exemption, which the Prime Minister’s office acknowledged receipt of, was delivered to her office closer to the beginning of 2021. 2022 is on the horizon with no word from the Prime Minister or her representatives on when, or even if this meeting will take place. The Prime Minister has disrespectfully left the Rastafari community in animated suspense as it pertains to this phantom meeting.

 

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While the AHF is aware of the Town Hall meeting pertaining to the COVID-19 and the non-mandatory/mandatory taking of the related vaccines, these meetings do not speak to the concerns of the Rastafari community and the questions asked from it.

 

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In the BLP’s 2018 Manifesto as pertaining to Rastafari it starts by saying,”  Rastafarian Brethren & Sistren – we recognize and respect the members of the Rastafarian Community as valued and contributing members of Barbadian society.” Really! Since this was presented to the people and the BLP was victorious in winning the government, Rastafari has been continually disrespected and disregarded. The government has made good on its promise of land to Rastafari, which is nothing special as many Rases are the beneficiaries of land access programs previous initiated by successive governments. Giving something that is already available for the taking is tantamount to giving nothing.  Let us not be fooled or bamboozled by cleverly crafted words.

 

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The BLP has done and continues to do very little for Rastafari in any meaningful way.

Ras Simba Akoma

Founder and President of the AHF

 

 

 

 

Author: Admin

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