Rastafari Progressive Movements (RPM) has reiterated its stance that the Rastafari community will not be taking any COVID-19 vaccine.
It’s against our beliefs, says Rastafari community
Thu, 02/11/2021 - 5:00am
As Barbados gets ready to roll out its COVID-19 vaccine distribution programme, Rastafari Progressive Movements (RPM) has reiterated its stance that the Rastafari community will not be taking any COVID-19 vaccine.
“Rastafari is designated as indigenous by a United Nations treaty, and as such, its lifestyle including spiritual, health and economic modalities and methodologies must be recognised and respected by the Barbados government, who is a signatory to this,” RPM said in a press release.
The Rastafari Progressive Movements Executive, comprising of Empress Andrea, Bongo Lights, Ras Lumumba, Empress Kayron, Ras Ilive and Ras Simba went on to note that in a recent letter to Prime Minister The Hon. Mia Amor Mottley, RPM stated, “While the Rastafari community is fully cognisant of the health risks that have been attributed to such vaccines, added to the short space of time they were developed and that they are largely untested, it is not on this basis that we seek to be exempted from taking the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The fundamental lifestyle of Rastafari as it pertains to health concerns, is based on the use of natural herbs, barks, seeds, leaves and such. It is also based on a diet that restricts Rastafari to consumption of foods that are natural, or what we refer to as Ital. This excludes the use of processed foods, salt and anything that will have a negative impact on our bodies [health]. This exaggerated health conscious way of living is founded in the understanding that our bodies are the living temples of the most high, and as such they must be kept free from anything that would negatively impact on this cleanliness,” the Executive said.
“Further to this, clean energy is also an acknowledgement of Rastafari and this has inspired a diet that is vegan in essence. This lifestyle has been acknowledged by many who have studied the movement of Rastafari, as one that promotes good health and a strong immune system. Evidence of this can be clearly seen in the wider society, as vegetarian and vegan lifestyles are being adopted by many for better health,” they added.
RPM acknowledged that it has been made clear to the public of Barbados that the taking of vaccines will not be made mandatory. However, being aware that it has been promoted that 60% to 70% of the population needs to be vaccinated to effect “herd immunity”, RPM is of the opinion that should this target amount not be met, some form of forced vaccination taking would be implemented. As such, RPM seeks to emphatically state that the Rastafari community must be exempted from any such action by the government.
Further, RPM noted that via its letter to the Prime Minister, a request has been made to have a Zoom meeting with her pertaining to the issue.
“To date, no response has been given to RPM, other than to say the communication was received. RPM still seeks to have a meeting with the Prime Minister on this matter” the release indicated.
Finally, RPM notes that under the indigenous lifestyle of Rastafari as it pertains to health observances, it is [not right] for the government to keep access to cannabis, a crucial component to the Rastafari’s health regime, illegal.
Therefore, RPM says legislation for the Barbados Medicinal Cannabis Industry must be amended to reflect this, as Rastafari seek to better strengthen themselves against the COVID-19 virus.