The Jamaican Rastafari community is planning a massive welcome for the exiled Ethiopian Crown Prince, Zere Yacob Asfa Wossen, grandson of Haile Sellassie I, when he arrives in that country on Wednesday September 25th 2002
From all reports, Rastafari in Jamaica are planning a welcome for the Crown Prince at the Norman Manley Airport, even more overwhelming than when Sellassie visited there in 1960’s.
Likewise in Trinidad and Tobago, Rastafari groups are now in the planning stages for the visit of the Crown Prince which is due for November 18th – December 10th 2002
To this end steering commitees are currently being put in place here. All members of Rastafari organizations were invited to attend a meeting at the 12 Tribes of Israel headquarters, Sea Trace, Bagatelle Diego Martin.
Trinidad and Tobago would form the final leg of the Crown Prince’s visit to the Caribbean. From Jamaica he goes to Grenada and then Barbados.
In each island, the Crown Prince’s visit will be celebrated with dinners and large cultural shows:
Grenada: Cocktail Party Nov 8th. Concert Nov 9th.
Barbados: Concert Nov 16th.
Trinidad/Tobago: Dinner Nov 27th. Concert Nov 30th
The Crown Prince’s tour is being co-ordinated by Dennis ‘Priest’ Campbell, Director of the Ethiopian Peace Foundation [EPF] which has its headquarters in Manchester England.
The EPF was established by the Crown Prince in November 2002. He is the Executive Director. According to the EPF mission stetement its business and objective is to
– provide a service for Ethiopians and Rastafarians
– assist in the Repatriation and resettlement process of Ethiopians and Rastafarians
– other areas of assistance include but are not limited to the promoting of commerec, art, science, health, education, religion, charity or any other profession.
– in pursuit of its goals the EPF resolves to hold fund raising events and solicitation of funds from donor governments, business and industry and NGO’s who want to assist in achieving the goal.
Dennis Campbell who was in Trinidad and Tobago to lay the ground work for the visit, told this newspaper that the Crown Prince is due to stay in Jamaica for over a month, during which time he will be meeting with the different mansions of Rastafari, African-minded people, government officials, diplomats etc. He will also be launching a branch of the EPF in Jamaica. There are also plans to have a branch of the EPF registered in Trinidad and Tobago.
Campbell said, though now exiled, the present government in Ethiopia has agreed that the Royal family could return and live there. Whether the Monarchy would be restored remains to be seen. As the news of the imminent return spreads however, many true Rastafari are seeing this as a signal that the time is now for Repatriation to Ethiopia.
The Crown Prince himself was allowed to visit Ethiopia in 2002. During the stay he met with individual members of the 12 Tribes of Israel who live on Shashemane settlement, which is the 500 acres of land given by Sellassie for those who wanted Repatriation to that country.
Coming out of that visit the Crown Prince produced a paper in which he expressed his concerns about the welfare of Rastafarians who have already Repatriated and those who may wish to do so in the future.
from Deborah John for the Trinidad Express