The Rastafarian community is offended that it has no representation on the newly assembled Constitutional Reform Commission.
An irate Ras Simba said the community feels “annoyed and disrespected” that no space could be found for them on the 10-member commission, which was named on Monday and officially launched Friday.
The Commission, which is chaired by Justice Christopher Blackman, has been tasked with reforming the island’s aging Constitution.
Ras Simba, who was invited to the official launch at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, claimed that Rastafarians were once again being disadvantaged, similar to what transpired with the medicinal cannabis industry.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY, he said what was especially disheartening was the fact that other facets of society had been included on the Commission.
“The Constitution is a very important document. It says that we are now in a position to govern ourselves. So we are now moving from a colonial space into an independent space, which in itself is an African activity. It is African-centered because the space is a space that was full of African descendants who they brought and made slaves here.
“We are here now in 2022 and Rastafari, who has emerged, has come and established themselves as an integral part of the society. We’ve heard in the last two elections the Government speak of the importance of Rastafari, the contribution of Rastafari in the community. We feel slighted that we have been left off of being at the actual table. We were good enough to be invited to the launch…” an irate Ras Simba told Barbados TODAY moments after the event ended.
“We feel very slighted and we look at the table and we see almost everyone else represented at the table. Muslims represented, education represented, colonial Christianity represented. I feel that we’re in a confused space. I am glad that all of these other facets of the society are represented but that means that Rastafari should also be represented.
“I don’t think that we are really ready for the Republic. We moved God but then we’re hearing in the prayers people talking about Jesus Christ, so there’s confusion within there. But based on what we’re speaking about here, at the 25th hour we’re still saying that Rastafari should have an official space at the table. All the pretty talk about having special meetings and private consultations, we did that with the medical cannabis and look at where we’re at. We got nothing, we still have nothing and I presently have the Government in court. I now got a trial date for next year and this is for our sacramental rights which is stated within the Constitution we have now.
“I am fighting for my Constitutional rights as a Rastafari right now as we speak in the courts of law but a new Constitution is coming about and I’m being left out. You could imagine how I feel? What will happen to me? I am pissed and I came here really and truly just to speak to the media and speak to the chair of the commission,” Ras Simba further maintained.
The outspoken advocate said he also planned to communicate to the Prime Minister his disappointment with the manner in which Rastafari was being treated.
“This is my first planned action for the community and I am here on behalf of the National Rastafari Registry Secretariat and Trust and our official position is that we are annoyed and we feel disrespected.
“Our first plan of action was to let our disgust public and then write a letter to the powers that be, even to the Prime Minister or the Prime Minister’s Office to let them know how we feel,” Ras Simba said.