Rastas fire back at BCC
One day after the Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) accused the Rastafarian community of trying to “strong arm” the government into legalizing marijuana, Rastafarian Priest Rithmond McKinney yesterday defended his community’s fundamental right to use the drug.
Last week, it was revealed that the Rastafarian community was considering suing the government for the right to cultivate, possess and supply marijuana as a sacrament to their worshippers.
On Monday, BCC President Bishop Delton Fernander said the lawsuit is a “slippery slope”, arguing that “it destroys the whole argument now”.
Yesterday, McKinney fired back at Fernander.
“I understand Mr. Fernander of the Christian Council said that, but are we jumping the gun? We was getting shoot down by the gun. We was getting destroyed by the gun. We was getting guns pushed in our face every day for this sacrament,” he said.
“Now, they say it’s medicinal marijuana and medicinal sacrament or medicinal cannabis. They say now it’s good. Not all the churches, but the church gives their members liquor but there is no medicinal liquor.”
McKinney said the Rastafarian community in The Bahamas have been advocating for its right to use marijuana as a sacrament since the 1980s.
According to a June 3 letter sent to Attorney General Carl Bethel and Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands from Munroe & Associates, attorneys for The Ethiopia Africa Black International Congress, the government has been given 10 working days to respond or legal action would commence.
Last week, Wayne Munroe, QC, said he wrote to Sands about making arrangements for the Rastafarian community to cultivate, possess and supply marijuana as a sacrament to their worshippers.
On Friday, Bahamas Marijuana Commission Co-Chairman Bishop Simeon Hall urged the Rastafarian community wait until the commission had completed its research.
However, McKinney said, “We’re sick and tired of being sick and tired… I lost respect for him when he said that.”
McKinney added, “Enough of our elders are getting locked up now. One elder is 56 and they locked him up the other day and they [had] him charged and he had to pay a fine and now he has to go and take counseling. What kind of counsel you can give a 56-year-old Rasta man? Who can counsel him? On what? This is the oppression we go through every day.”
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice
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