Rastafari community reiterates call for written policy to deal with discrimination against members
The Rastafari community is reiterating its call for a written policy to deal with discrimination against its members.
The community has been facing discrimination which escalated during the Coral Gardens atrocities in 1960s.
The incident, which occurred on Good Friday, April 12, 1963, saw the security forces going into Coral Gardens in St. James to quell a disturbance at a gas station, which eventually resulted in the deaths of scores of Rastafarians.
In 2017, Prime Minister Andrew Holness apologized for the incident and in 2019, a trust fund was established for the victims and their families.
However, the group continues to face discrimination as several dreadlocked Rastas, including children, have been forced to cut their locks to attend schools and other public offices.
Secretary of the Rastafari Coral Gardens Benevolent Society, Pamela Williams says the Government needs to address this longstanding issue.
She said of the 13 recommendations made to the Government, only about 5 have been met.
Among the outstanding issues, are the awarding of agricultural lands and scholarships to members of the Rastafari community.
Meantime, just yesterday (October 17), a member of the Rastafari community, near Bob Marley Beach in St. Andrew was arrested and a quantity of ganja seized and destroyed.
A small Rastafarian community living near the beach has protested against the planned development of the beach, near which a hotel is to be constructed.
The residents have raised concern about people losing access to the beach.
An online petition which was launched to ensure that the beach remains a public facility has over eight thousand signatures.