Recent calls by the Rastafarian
community for an official apology by the Royal Barbados Police Force
are of little consolation in determining the truth surrounding the death
of Mr. Iakobi Maloney. Little has been accomplished in the
way of establishing a concentrated drive toward the discriminatory practices
of the Royal Barbados Police Force both - towards the general public
and the Rastafarian community. Holding meetings where
portraits are admired and reminiscence is expanded upon is not the answer
to the issue at stake. It is agreed that a certain public awareness
must be kept front and centre concerning the issues of the Rastafarian
community, but a more definite effort at direction of will and a sense
of purpose must be adopted.
The brother of the deceased,
Mr. Mandela Maloney, must seek to embrace the issue based not on what
he can call for within private citizen’s rights, but what is available
on the wider international “human rights” platform
that has been so blatantly circumvented. No amount of “reasoning”
no matter how well it is publicized can avert the fact that serious
miscarriage of judicial decision making, and legal due process, has
to be resolved by a serious application of higher judicial power.
Furthermore, if a legal appellate fails to secure the necessary results
and the revealing of the truth, then it is wholly incumbent upon the
entire Rastafarian community, and the family, to seek the highest legal
recourse, at the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
Police commissioner Darwin
Dottin, has attempted to throw the Rastafarian community a bone instead
of a true olive branch. Bones are usually dry and only have
two ends, one with which to promise and the other end with which to
deny all involvement when the pressures of truth comes too close to home.
An olive branch has a stem with many mature leaves and may at spring
time bud, and was first used by the ancient Greeks as a means of establishing
peace and continued conditions of dialogue and sincere efforts at reconciliation.
Each leaf of the olive branch can be considered a symbol of continued
and sincere effort at establishing equality of rights and perusal of
the pertinent issues facing the local Rastafarian community. A
bone has no such power.
The Rastafarian community worldwide
has to follow in the continued adoration of the late
Bob Marley. Bob’s music was his greatest
weapon of change, and though far removed from todays offering of confusion
and disrespect of women “bashments” that have pervaded society,
lives on in glorious hope of peace, hope, strength and reconciliation
as the weapons of war. Marley’s words “Release yourselves'
from mental slavery” were not just a lyrical composition aimed
at empowering communities, but were pointed directly at fostering the
will within oneself to “Rise up, standup, standup for your rights”.
This call should emanate even more resolutely through the local Rastafari
community by embracing the enormous challenge of seeking, by all means
possible, true justice; the much needed opening of dialogue, using
other arsenals such as the higher education of their peers engaging
modern legal and technological instruments of the law.
There is some serious concern
that the image of the Rastafarian community has been damaged severely
by individuals who profess the faith, dress accordingly, but who engage
in socially deviant behavior. These individuals know who
they are and what they are not representing by their miscreant behavior
and frequent run-ins with the law. What is completely unacceptable
is the fact that the true Rastafari faith and movement locally is automatically
branded as being wholly responsible for the conduct of these individuals.
Indeed, what is much needed for the healing of relations between the
local Rastafarian community, the public and especially law enforcement
is; a concentrated effort at publicly denouncing those practices, which
are causing harm to the faith and community. Further, those individuals
bearing the tools of scholastic empowerment should actively become involved
in the monitoring of legal process and its effects, alluding to the
community being as intelligent as possible pertaining to matters before
the courts, legal representation, and the education of their younger
It is not enough to simply
pass on the torch of faith to the younger generation in the hope that
they will accept the circumstances and fall in line. Educationally,
the Rastafarian community has been discriminated against at will and
has had to struggle with a stigma that has been turned into a damaging
force by an unintelligent and willfully narrow minded public.
Ignorance is not hereditary but rather a state of the mind influenced
by the unwillingness to accept the fear of ones own shortcomings.
The Royal Barbados Police Force
is one of the many government organizations who flounder on in desperation
everyday, hoping that the next day will be better but failing utterly
to address the fundamental issues of ingrained discriminatory attitudes
and inherently flawed operating procedures. Customer service
is non-existent, rude and inflammatory language is the norm, the public
is viewed as a nuisance and the appalling self preserving rock bottom
morale is utterly incomprehensible.
What is ever more disturbing is the fact that recent events surrounding the murder of a Canadian tourist were seen to be a sterling job on the part of the RBPF with a substantial reward being offered for the assailants capture. Not surprisingly, the perpetrator was quickly apprehended and charged, with the RBPF made to look as though they were the cutting edge of law enforcement. Why is that same attitude and determination lacking in everyday public service?
Why was this professional courtesy not extended to the Maloney family? Was it deemed un-necessary to dedicate the same amount of urgency to finding out the truth about what actually took place in this young man’s last moments compared to the case of a wealthy Canadian Jew?
Where is the moral, social,
and law enforcement service equality, that is claimed to be a founding
principle of the Royal Barbados Police Force? Or is it that the
facade of vested interest and social status might be tarnished, and
thus must be preserved at all cost, irrespective of what happens to
the less socially empowered in the society?
The causes of the Rastafarian community are in much need of support at a very difficult time in their history. It is incumbent upon every member of that community and decent law abiding citizens of Barbados to demand equality morally, socially and professionally from each other so that a definite influence of change and understanding can innervate our society.
It is absolutely imperative
that the Maloney family seek every avenue available within the confines
of the law to have answers, truth and justice delivered without delay.
The public must also be kept fully informed every step of the way along
the difficult path ahead, in order that a very clear and unequivocal
message be relayed that unprofessional, tardy and inappropriate action
by the RBPF directed toward any member of society, will not be tolerated.
Also, the Rastafarian community
must seek to use this opportunity whilst in the social spotlight to
educate the public in creative ways that can help to generate hope and
a chance to speak as one voice, from within the society.
There has been much done already toward this end and it is to be highly
commended, but the true legacy of what is within each other will be
bound together even more firmly if the colonial imperialist stigma of;
“being unable to live in the Tenement Yard” is confronted
by the dedication to social equality and justice.
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