Rastafarians Praise Government for Revoking Ban

Rastafarians Praise Government for Revoking Ban
Posted by CN Staff on November 02, 2003 at 21:12:16 PT
By The Associated Press
Source: Associated Press 
Road Town, British Virgin Islands -- Rastafarians in Tortola for a weeklong summit praised the new government for revoking a law banning their entry to the British Virgin Islands. The 23-year-old "Rasta Law," removed in August, ordered immigration authorities to refuse entry to Rastafarians and "hippies," most commonly identified by their dreadlocks. 
"I thank (former Chief Minister) Ralph O'Neal for keeping us back for so long because it made us strong to come now," Ras Bobby, a Rastafarian from St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, said late Saturday. O'Neal was the author of the 1980 ordinance and repeatedly refused to lift the ban despite public pressure to do so. The Legislative Council struck the order from the books after a survey determined most islanders were in favor of removing it, officials said. Chief Minister Orlando Smith, who won elections in June, was scheduled to give a speech to open the ninth annual summit of the Barbados-based Caribbean Rastafari Organization on Saturday night in this British Caribbean territory. Instead, Communications Minister Paul Wattley addressed the 200 Rastafarians from around the Caribbean, saying many islanders "see the members of this movement as untidy drug smokers, engaging in criminal activity and other forms of anti-social activity." Wattley urged delegates to use the conference to dispel that image. But many attending the event said discrimination was still prevalent. "When it comes to getting certain jobs, I might have to trim my hair," said Kiyode Erasto, a Rastafarian from Antigua who gestured to his dreadlocks that fell well below his shoulders. "We regard marijuana as one of our holy sacraments," he added. "We also use it as medicine." Despite a call from Wattley that delegates respect the territory's laws, which criminalize marijuana use, the scent of the drug permeated the air at the opening. No arrests were reported. Throughout the Caribbean, Rastas say they are unjustly blamed for crime and looked down upon for using marijuana, which they believe brings them closer to God. The religion also espouses peaceful coexistence and staying close to nature, which can mean not combing or cutting one's hair. Panel discussions during this week's conference also will focus on lobbying for European reparations to the descendants of African slaves, and African acceptance of those descendants as citizens. Rastafarianism emerged in Jamaica in the 1930s, with the descendants of slaves angry over colonial oppression of blacks and attempting to reconnect with their African roots. The religion was popularized in the 1970s through reggae artists such as Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. An estimated 700,000 people practice the faith worldwide. Some sects believe their god is deceased Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie. Complete Title: Rastafarians Praise New BVI Government for Revoking BanSource: Associated Press Published: November 02, 2003Copyright: 2003 Associated Press Related Articles:Rastafarians Gather in Jamaica for Summit Struggle With Discrimination To Legalise Ganja for Private Use Soon
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Comment #6 posted by Jose Melendez on November 13, 2003 at 12:25:30 PT
Don't just turn your head and cough, do something!
Hi friends! here we must send you again a newsletter, because this is
really a nice one!This happy news with more details and more news can you find today 
Continue coming weekly to find the hottest news about hemp, cannabis, 
or however you call it! Use the "chat room" to meet your friends! 
our free music!Our friend in Jamaica just wrote to us:I just heard unofficially this:The Joint Select Committee on the National Commission on Ganja last 
voted to accept all seven recommendations of the National Commission - 
yes votes but for one abstention.What this means for the Nov 26 session is unclear. I will call later 
as i am leaving for Kingston momentarily.The submissions from all overseas experts were reviewed, and 
significantly to the decision - MUCH THANKS !!!We still have work to do as the legislation now needs to be introduced 
voted on.Give Thanks
Paul^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^COALITION FOR GANJA LAW REFORM
GANJA: Tax Regulate Control EducatePOBox 24, Laughlands
St. Ann, Jamaicatel (876) 972-0817
   (876) 794-8086
fax (876) 794-8087
cel (876) 381-4736
email paul_chang     Alfredo Dupetit
+49 9378 99590 Fax +49 9378 394
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on November 03, 2003 at 14:31:25 PT
Nice to see you. I hope you enjoyed your isolation. It's getting crazy down here. I got a very sick dog. I think he is getting pneumonia. I'm treating him with a good extract and essential oils by vaporization. I can't get him to the Vet until tomorrow when my husband gets home and I thought he was going to die last night so I stayed up most of the night with him and he is doing better. Natural treatments work even for dogs. He's still very sick but he has a twinkle in his eye so I know he will make it. Let's hope for good things in the news real soon!
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Comment #4 posted by Sam Adams on November 03, 2003 at 08:07:25 PT
British Virgin Islands: Check!
Won't be going there in this lifetime. I don't care to vacation among bigots.
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Comment #3 posted by jose melendez on November 03, 2003 at 08:03:33 PT
Ja rules
from:"Liberty is the natural right of human beings. This right has no limits unless affecting the rights of others or public interests, which are regulated by law. The liberty and dignity of human beings are inviolable. The state has the duty to respect and protect the liberty and dignity of human beings." 
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Comment #2 posted by herbdoc215 on November 03, 2003 at 06:48:44 PT
Adam, Respect to you mon, Big up yourself!
Tis nice to see this story upon my first return to Babylon after being stuck up in the mountains at our mine for last 5 weeks due to a flood washing out internet was getting to me though:) I'm glad not all the news is away home to Zion, praise be Jah! Peace, Steve Tuck
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Comment #1 posted by Adam1 on November 02, 2003 at 22:20:32 PT
Give Thanks And Praise Jah Time Is Now!
This is a beautiful thing for Rastas I-very Where. Not only is this a beautiful day for Rasta, it is a sign to all men and women that the oppressors are not the root of evil, but mere humans who have been mislead. Even oppressers will grow weary from the energy that is drained from them in their efforts to promote ill feelings. What is even greater is that they who oppress can also rise up and change for a greater power. Good does dwell in the heart of all men; some just have a longer road to trod before they find the good within. I&I are the chosen people and the train has many empty seats waiting to be filled. One Love to all the people of the herb. Sellassie I Jah Ras-Tafari The Living God.
a.k.a. Eric Nicholas Knudsen 
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