Welcome to The Rastafari Chronicles, a series of articles, utterances, links from the archives of Rastafari history. This is an encouragement to all Rastafari worldwide to revive memories of InI glorious trod.
Give thanks to ones and ones for helping to uplift this initiative, to share and exchange works, greetings, stories, memorabilia, reminiscences, and ephemera of Rastafari. Let InI rise up a thunderous orchestration of Ises to the Majesty and elevation of the Movement.
One perfect love in His Imperial Majesty and Empress Menen.
BARBADOS – 1998
The first international Eastern Caribbean Conference on Rastafari, entitled ‘Organize and Centralize’ was convened in Barbados from 17-27 August 1998. Hundreds of delegates representing 20 Rastafari nation-states worldwide attended the high-profile assembly to discuss local, regional and global issues relating to the movement. The gathering included the renowned elder, Ras Sam Brown, who sadly passed away on Monday 24th August after making a massive impact on the deliberations of the conference. Also present were 3 dreadlocked attorneys: Rases Miguel Lorne, Kasate Shillingford and Fitzgerald Hinds, who together formed the Rastafari Legal Council of the Caribbean. Several Rastafari writers, crafts-people, agriculturalists, herbalists and others involved in wide spheres of activity also attended.
The Conference, which was opened by Barbados Minister of Education Ms Mia Mottley, has had a popular response from the local populace and press, who have closely followed each day’s proceedings. A highly successful Trade Expo at the Queens Park during the first weekend (strong-end) drew huge audiences.
Resolutions coming out of the Conference include a call to Caribbean governments to end the persecution which the local and regional movement has suffered over the years, particularly through the illegality of the sacred herb, ‘ganja’. The treatment of Rastafari youths in education and penal systems also came under serious review. Opportunities for Rastafari to trade and communicate more fluidly in the region, and to develop existing links with Africa, were high on the agenda.
The ‘Organize and Centralize’ Conference, coming 15 years after the landmark 1983 assembly in Jamaica, added another rung in the rise of Rastafari, locally and internationally. It was evident that the re-emergent Black Consciousness in the Caribbean needed a focus and spearhead. The challenge facing the Rastafari movement is to to take its rightful place at the forefront of this revival now sweeping the region and seek to cement links with the African continent.
Resolutions agreed by Conference
Be it resolved that:
1. The Patriarch Leonard Howell’s Earthday (June 18th) be recognized officially in the Rastafari Calendar.
2. The history of brutality and attempted genocide against Rastafari in the Caribbean be documented as an integral part of the Conference agenda.
3. Elders and other skilled ones should assist in organizing the youths in educational activities
4. Special w/shops be arranged with respect to Rastafari childbirth
5. All relevant documents, papers, presentations, etc. pertaining to the Conference be appropriately photocopied and preserved
6. An education Committee be established
7. There be documentation of the teachings of the Elders.
8. The selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty be considered as InI Third Testament.
9. A Legal Council of Rastafari be established
10. Ras Frank-I of Antigua/Wadadli be assisted in his efforts towards legalisation of the herb cannabis/marijuana in Antigua
Rastafari Family Youth/Elders
11. Rastafari sistren/dawtas to be fully appreciated
12. There be a good development of Family life
13. Our youths be encouraged to form productive Youth Organisations
14. There be the establishment of a social security system for elders
15. There be the establishment of a Caribbean Sisters Council with eventual international sisters representation
Economic Development /Trade/Secretariat
16. There be the development of an international Rastafari Trading Co.
17. Rastafari Culture Arts and Craft be utilised for fund-raising ventures
18. Barbados be established as the Headquarters of the Eastern Caribbean Rastafari Working Committee and the Rastafari International Secretariat.
Shango Baku (Centenary Committee for Rastafari)