COVID-19 and the vaccine
Concerns about taking the COVID-19 vaccine surrounded not knowing much about its ingredients or the possible long terms effects from taking the vaccine.
Reverend Kwame Kamau from Trinidad and Tobago who gave his thoughts on the issue said: “We do not want to put anything in our system that could contaminate or in any way bring us away from our livity, our natural element.”
Ras Simba from Barbados, a member of the African Heritage Foundation said fertility is a major issue for the community: “I have to ask myself am I willing to play with my life and probably the life of my generation, my seed… my seed’s seed. There is too much unknown about the vaccine for us to take it.”
Quilin Fekerte Selassie also known in Makers circles as Empress Q in Trinidad and Tobago, says the reported side effects of previous vaccines over the years on children is of concern as well.
She said: “As Rastafari we have deep seated suspicions of these people who come and say that what they want is to bring a cure or some medicinal intervention when what we know it is an industry, it is a money-making industry.”
Adeyemi Hinds from Barbados, who is an African Centered social and cultural activist said: “We cannot simply accept it and me on a personal level I can’t because it’s not natural. For a long time, my body tells me what’s best for me, my spirit tells me what’s best for me.”
AGRICULTURE AND CANNABIS
When the coronavirus hit the Caribbean many tourism-dependent islands felt the sting with calls for backyard farming becoming a buzzword again.
For the Rastafari community, agriculture is nothing new.
Ras Simba from Barbados said: “Long time Rastafari tell them tourism woulda flop, that it was unwise to put all your eggs in one basket.”
It was also explained that agriculture is not just about food production but there are also other industries where materials could be produced.
Ras Simba noted that cannabis is part of I and I’s health regime and there is the misconception that when one speaks about cannabis, it’s only about smoking.
Reverend Kwame Kamau said cannabis is a healing sacrament, a means to be healed of body, mind and spirit: “With cannabis and hemp we can resuscitate the Barbados economy, the Trinidad economy, the Jamaican economy all the economies.”
Cultural activist Adeyemi Hinds added that in the Caribbean ganja fields are being burnt while it has become a billion-dollar industry abroad.