Post date: May 17, 2009 6:33:41 PM

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 generations.

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.