At headquarters of the League of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland on June 30 in 1936, Emperor Haile Selassie stated, “It is us today. It will be you tomorrow. That statement which Rastafari deem prophetic came as a result of The League of Nations allowing Emperor Haile Selassie to declare his case before its assembled delegates in a moment of history never to be forgotten. The Emperor’s case was based on the Italian’s fascist aggression during the second Italo-Ethiopian War in Ethiopia. The emperor of Ethiopia was asking for the end of the war, for international treaties to be respected and for the use of chemical weapons to be totally rejected by all nations.
Today Rastafari is saying, yesterday it was only us, today it is all of us. The actions of the Barbados Labour Party led by Ms Mia Amor Mottley as it pertains to cannabis reform under the umbrella of health, is nothing short of appalling. After decades of abject oppression for the possession, use and sale of cannabis, the average man and woman inclusive of Rastafari have been left out completely of cannabis reform in Barbados. To add insult to injury the Attorney General of Barbados admitted that under religious constitutional considerations and international treaties that Barbados is signatory to, the rights of Rastafari were being violated. It was noted that restricting legal access to the cannabis plant for religious reasons with a violation of constitutional and human rights. Since this admission of human rights violations by the Barbados Labour Party in Parliament in 2019, a law was passed to supposedly give Rastafari access to cannabis for religious use; but the law is framed in such a manner that spaces earmarked for legal cannabis use have to be inspected by personnel from the Attorney General’s Office. To date the Attorney General’s Office has not put in place the framework to support the inspections of places given by Rases making application to legally use cannabis in their places of worship. This means the position of Rastafari within the construct of human rights violations being committed against them continues. It must be noted that the Rastafari community has taken the Barbados Labour Party to court to prove that their homes are places of worship, and that this should be reflected in the Sacramental Cannabis Act. No love or respect for Rastafari by the Barbados Labour Party.
While the rights of Rastafari were being violated in spite of constitutional and international law and treaties, the voices of the rest of the society spoke in faint whispers in support of Rastafari, and condemnation for the actions of the Barbadian government against them. Today every Barbadian is having their human rights and liberties taken from them blatantly in the name of health and safety. While the government plays a game of words, saying no to mandatory vaccinations, it is allowing employers free range to illegally mandate vaccines for employment. We are seeing a government that is above the constitution, which is the highest law in the land. In a bid to make Barbados a Republic the government will overlook constitutional law, to do as it pleases, then change the constitution to suite their actions after.
I am positive a lot of Barbadians who relish their freedoms and liberties respectfully within the communal construct, are saddened and anxious about the future of human liberty in Barbados.” I assert that the issue before Barbados today is not merely a question of the health in the matter of COVID-19. It is a question of collective security; of the very existence and value of the Barbados constitution, United Nations treaties and Human Rights obligations; of the trust placed in international treaties; if the value of promises made to small states and individuals that their integrity, liberty and independence shall be respected and assured. In a word, It is international morality that is at stake.” (Adapted from the words of Haile Selassie).
Now that is has been made brutally crystal clear, that the Prime Minister of Barbados thinks the masses under her charge to be stupid and unable to make calculated decisions for themselves, based on information presented to them, on what they do and do not want in their bodies; it must be made just as clear to the government, where the source of the power they are so openly abusing comes from. No self-respecting Rastafari man or woman should vote for the BLP in the next election. Further to this no self-respecting Barbadian should allow this uncaring, criminal organization called the Barbados Labour Party another term in office. This is all we have left in Barbados. Reason has failed, legal actions are scoffed at, integrity is invisible and white collar crime has been bleached and gleams with brilliance.
From lock downs to the impending safe zones, full advocacy for experimental vaccines yet not a word of education on herbal remedies being used to fight the disease. How can we respect or accept this? The Barbados government has bought into the global agenda of mass vaccination and will do whatever it takes to reach vaccine quotas regardless if the vaccines are proving effective or not, or how the people feel about them.
We the stupid people of Barbados, who have been educated in the Barbadian school system, know just enough to withhold our votes until we have the respect of our employees (the government) who think themselves our masters or massas. Do not think because they are black that they are better than the old slave masters. The higher the monkey climbs.
As Italy was to Ethiopia, Benito Mussolini was to Emperor Haile Selassie, so is Ms Mia Amour Mottley to Rastafari and the Barbados Labour Party to the people of Barbados. “Within a system which denies the existence of basic human rights, fear tends to be the order of the day. Fear of imprisonment, fear of torture, fear of death, fear of losing friends, family, property or means of livelihood, fear of poverty, fear of isolation, fear of failure. A most insidious form of fear is that which masquerades as common sense or even wisdom, condemning as foolish, reckless, insignificant or futile the small, daily acts of courage which help to preserve man’s self-respect and inherent human dignity. It is not easy for a people conditioned by fear under the iron rule of the principle that might is right to free themselves from the enervating miasma of fear. Yet even under the most crushing state machinery courage rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state of civilized man.”
― Aung San Suu Kyi
Keep it up Ms Prime Minister and watch my vote.
Written by Ras Simba Akoma
Founder and president of the African Heritage Foundation
Interim Secretariat General of The National Rastafari Registry Secretariat and Trust.