Chapter 2

CHAPTER 2
DREAD OUTA BABYLON 


By the 1970s, Dominica had attained Associative Statehood. Under the Dominica Constitution Order of 1967, #“the executive authority of Dominica was in the hands of a Governor who acted on the advice of a cabinet made up of the Premiere and ministers of government drawn from members of the House of Assembly.” This arrangement gave the government total self-governance, while matters of defence and foreign affairs were under the direction of the British government. 
 The period between 1970 and 1980 in Dominica was one of intense political upheaval, social unrest and the rise in social consciousness. If the political consciousness of the late 40’s and 50 gave rise to the trade unions and early political parties, then it was the civil rights struggle in the United States of America, and the fight against apartheid in South Africa that spurred this generation to action. Not since the days of Jamaica’s pan Africanist, Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) had self-belief become so predominate a preoccupation for Afro-Americans and Black people the world over. Black was now beautiful: It was BLACK POWER. Yet, in the late 50’s and early 60s, it was Dominican-born, Pan Africanist Joseph Raphael Ralph Casimir# who was also a prolific poet, writer, and dedicated promoter of our indigenous literature, creativity and culture and who was one of founding member of the Universal Negro Improvement Association led by Marcus Garvey, who was to fan the flames of black pride, Pan Africanism and social justice in Dominica. He served as organizer and General Secretary of the Dominican branch from1919-1922. and served as an agent for Garvey's shipping line, the Black Star Line. Casimir, who was honoured with a plaque in 1990 by the Ethiopian World Federation, for his work during the Garvey movement also served as a Roseau Town Councillor, and secretary of several political organizations including the famous West Indian Conference of 1932. He contributed articles and poems to many local regional and U.S magazines. He contributed many articles to the Negro World and he was a correspondent for several publications including the Pittsburgh Courier. Between 1943 and the latest in 1975, Casimir edited four anthropologies of poems and five collections of his own work. He showcased local recitals songs and Creole speeches at UNIA gatherings. He also founded the first literary society in Dominica. Herein are the answers to the questions, of what angered scores of young men and women to unequivocally challenge the status quo of Dominica. The underlying societal problems that spurred them to risk life and limb in face of the draconian Dread Act and caused the Dreads to want to get out of Babylon the system. This chapter will examine the above questions in detail, drawing on the experiences of a few of the adherents of Rastafari today who will enlighten you with their testimonies and anecdotes. This chapter will also continue our study of the evolution of a people descended from enslaved Africans who were plucked from the western shores of the African continent and address what they see as the legacy of an unjust system handed down to us from colonial times.



BLACK POWER
It is commonly agreed that forerunner of the establishment of Rastafari in Dominica was the black power movement. The phrase was first used by Trinidadian, Black power activist,  Stokely Carmicheal. But it can be said that sentiments of national pride and blackness were first institutionalised in Dominica in the early 60s by Former Premier Edward Leblanc, who was responsible for the raising of awareness of national identity. His political ideal was pro-working class. He instituted National day on November 3rd, and was even accused of being a sympathizer of the Black power theory. Leblanc encouraged the wearing of the shirt jacks, instead of the jacket and tie. He wrote poetry. He actively encouraged local arts and culture. In  the 1960’s the Caribbean was hit by a wave of radical thought that challenged the colonial political structures inherited from their colonial past. Many African states had attained independence from their colonial masters. In 1960 these African states became republics: Cameroon  Togo, Mali, Senegal, Madagascar, Congo  Somalia,  Benin,  Niger, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivory, Chad, Central African Republic, Congo, Gabon, Nigeria, Mauritania, Sierra Leone and Tanzania. In  1961  Burundi, In 1962 Rwanda, Algeria and Uganda. In 1963,Kenya. In 1964 Malawi and Zambia. Gambia, in 1965.  Botswana and Lesotho, in 1966. Mauritius, Swaziland  and Equatorial Guinea, 1968.

The flames of Independence were also beginning to burn in the Americas, as well.  Jamaica and  Trinidad and Tobago were granted independence  1962 and Barbados followed, and Guyana located on the South America mainland was granted Independence in 1966. Emperor Haile Sellassie I, of Ethiopia, the only African state never to know European domination, and who was the 225th in the unbroken line of Ethiopian sovereigns, who trace their ancestry back to the union of Queen Sheba and King Solomon, visited the West Indian islands of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago that year.. Meantime,  growing discontent with the system had coalesced into the formation of several lobbying groups protesting the despicable state of affairs under the Premier Patrick John. #Patrick L. Baker writing in his book, Centring the periphery: Chaos, Order, and the Ethno history of Dominica, noted that comparative studies on the population from 1946 to 1980 indicated that 50 percent of the population was aged under 15 years. Baker also mentions that in 1970, 5.9 percent of those over fifteen years had received no education. 83.6 percent had attended primary school; 9.2 percent had attended secondary school,  and 0.8 percent had attended university. Unemployment was rife, and when returning graduates with degrees from universities abroad, with high hopes of self fulfilment realized the dismal opportunities in Dominica, the situation was volatile. “ There were virtually no openings for university graduates outside of teaching or the civil service, and when the university graduates took these jobs, their potential was usually under-utilized.” Barker summarized adding, “ these persons formed a young educated category  critical of both government and opposition, and  of neo colonialism in general.” 

The black power movement in Dominica took the shape in the form of reactions to a number of incidents locally, regionally and worldwide. The race riots in Notting hill in the united kingdom; the continued fight for the release of south African, antiapartheid campaigner,  Nelson Mandela; The rise of the Black Panther movement  and the Nation of Islam, the civil rights struggles which saw the assassination of Malcolm x and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr,  in the USA. In February 1970 the Black Power movement in Trinidad exploded as thousands of young people took to the streets in massive demonstrations that rocked the island. Meanwhile, in Dominica at the St. Mary’s Academy, in March 1972, there was the students protest over the dress and hair length regulations sought to be enforced by the Canadian Christian Brothers. The there was the incident of one of the brothers having kicked a student. That year, Hilroy Thomas, a teacher at the school, was fired because he refused to wear a tie. In the summer of 1972  the MND, Movement for a new Dominica which was comprised of young graduates such as Julian Johnson and Gordon Moreau was formed. Another incendiary incident was the transferring  of popular disc jocky and news caster at Radio Dominica, 590 Radio, Daniel  Caudeiron, popularly known as Papa Dee, to a desk job. The civil service were called out on strike. The reason for removal were  “allegations of involvement with black power and sending disguised messages in the course of his programs.” Allegations which he denied saying, he did not know what black power meant. Yet another incident of international importance was to launch another Dominican on the pantheon of black power activists. A young, militant Rosie Douglas, the son of Robert Douglas, a political dynasty from Portsmouth, was said to be the ring leader  in a 1973 sit-in by Caribbean students at the computer centre of Sir George William University in Montreal, Canada. The students were said to destroy the school‘s computers, throwing them out of the windows and setting the place on fire. “The students contended that they were being failed because they were black.” Douglas would serve an 18 month term in prison, and would spend his time writing his book, From Chains to Change. Douglas became renown for his commitment to” Black solidarity, and would fulfil his self prophesy that he uttered on the day of his deportation form Canada at the end of his prison term, that he would return to that country as Prime Minister of Dominica. 

With the new thrust of radicals in the MND, the African dashikis, weekly discussions at the Botanic Gardens and on the four corners, on any thing from local politics to the struggles for independence on the African continent, to interpretations of the civil rights movement in the USA. Both men and women , students and civil servants alike began to allow their kinky black hair to grow into afros, and the afro comb its self became a symbol of the revolution.   #Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert, writing in her biography of Phyllis Shand Allfrey, Phyllis Shand Allfrey: a Caribbean life sums up social tensions that existed in those years. Allfrey, a Creole, Born to a prominent family of formerly wealthy sugar planters in Dominica, novelists and founder of the Dominica Labour party, said to the biographer, “There was  a problem when I returned home [after the collapse of the Federation] The black power movement had taken root. There were people in the past who had given me support. Now they looked on me as a white person, and you know I didn’t like that much.”

DESMOND TROTTER
Taking note of the Black uprising that was taking place worldwide, was a 22- year-old civil servant, Desmond Trotter. Trotter who had an intuitive insight into the black struggle and was one of the chief advocates of social change. Speaking to this author by telephone on November 29th, 2009 from his home in Shashemane, Ethiopia, Trotter now known as Ras Kabinda Haber Sellassie recollected how he was influenced into the struggle. #“ Well in the early days, from when I was about 15...16 years old, I and I were inspired from reading history books, and reading some of the writings of Kwame Nkrumah and Cabral, and His Majesty, and Castro who were the thinkers of the time, you understand and the black power struggle in America had start to manifest in Trinidad in the 70s. Those were real revolutionary days there. All those things kind a stirred up little vibes within man’s spirit, and as man began to get conscious of what is really going on with the youth.  The spirit just interest man , like black consciousness   is the path that I and I people supposed to be pursuing. At a young age, the movement was really at the St. Mary’s Academy where they had kick a youth. A brother [Christian brother] had kick a youth. Think I had just come out [left high school] of school at that time.”
Ras Kabinda who repatriated to Ethiopia in the early nineties remembers those early days of Black power in Dominica. As a youth, he branched out from the Movement for a New Dominica, founded by persons such as Julian Johnson, Para Riviere, Ron Green, Swinburn Lestrade and others, and started to publish his own newsletters from his home at 28 Great Marlborough Street, Roseau. “I used to publish two little pamphlets, small papers that was the main reason that led to me being condemned because these were the papers I and I used to produce: Black Cray and Twavay. You know there was different things we used to produce. We used to distributed that all in the ghetto. That was our ways and means we used to raise consciousness. We used to adapt writing from man  Walter  Rodney, especially Walter Rodney from his book ‘Grounding with our Brothers.’ We used to se a lot of his reasoning on African history and things like that. Enlighten the youth and them.

Rastafarian poet and cultural activist, Delamance Moses, otherwise known as Ras Mo who has been at the forefront of the Rastafari Movement in Dominica since its inception in the 70’s, spoke with the author via telephone on Sunday, 23 August, 2009 and he shared some of his insights on the subject of the early days Rastafari in Dominica 


Ras Mo (left) and author, Ras Albert Williams Dominica circa 1990
#“When you start to talk about RastafarI in Dominica, there is a big piece of the analysis missing in the evolution of the  movement . Dreads weren’t Rastafarians in the first case…Dread evolved into Rasta, and it was through the political movement that was taking place in Dominica Patrick John couldn’t give a fxxk if Kabinda was a dread. What they feared was that . He had a certain progressive politics. That is why the Dread Act was tied with Anti youth and anti worker legislation, and legislation against the left. It was a whole anti communist campaign. So it was a political move to [ silence Destrot] It wasn’t yet a cultural movement. Because he [Destrot] was seen as a political threat. And that whole piece of the analysis that missing.”

According to Ras Mo, the brothers  were working with the farmers, “ That’s the whole concept of Dreads moving in the hills. Its about self sufficiency.” So then we had to build alliances with the peasants. And there were guys who were working in the hills ,working with peasants on their farms. So that is what Patrick John, and them, felt threatened by  and created a whole heap of propaganda. Then the criminals come in., and all they wanted to talk about was marijuana, they start to steal from poor people. So that justified…[the dread act] But they were in a minority.” 

Lion Les a cultural enthusiast who formed the first Nyabinghi drumming ensemble, Group I,  in Roseau in the early seventies summed up his experiences  to this author in an interview in December of  2009, #“we used to go out there and march on African Liberation Day and go out in front of the banks and pretty much demonstrating, well listen,  down with this south African system, African people unite, Dominicans stand up and thing.”
                                                      ****
In February 1974 an obscure American tourist,, Albert John Jirasek,  reported to be an under cover CIA agent was shot and killed  near Pebbles Park during the carnival festivities.. Lawyer and author Gabriel Christian writing in his paper,# In Times Crucial: Radical politics in Dominica 1970 - 1980 said  “the case of the Queen versus Desmond Trotter and Roy Mason was the most politically charged trial in Dominica at that time, and drew huge which blocked the courthouse entrance and overflowed into nearby grounds of the public library. To his supporters, Trotter was a valiant black power activist framed by the Babylon system.”



#The Queen v. Desmond Trotter: An Account of the Trial in Dominica. London: Liberation, 1976. By Tony Gillbert, .(1914-1992)

In November, the Patrick John administration passed the Prohibited and Unlawful Societies and Associations Act of 1974. 

THE DREAD ACT IS PASSED

In 1974, I was 12 years old. I lived about 150 yards from the government headquarters situated at the top of Kennedy Avenue. The five-storey grey brick building was the tallest building in Roseau, and it was from here that the Patrick John-led, Labour party administration conducted their affairs. Colloquially known as ‘the  ministry’, the various government departments, the attorney General’s office and the house of assembly were housed there. It was from here that PJ would join forces with the opposition: Eugenia Charles’ Freedom party to debate ‘an act to make provision for the suppression of societies established for unlawful purposes and for the better preservation of public safety, public order and public morality. On 21st, November 1974 Governor Louis Cools-Latigue assented to the passage of the #PROHIBITED AND UNLAWFUL SOCIEITIES AND ASSOCIATIONS ACT, 1974. An attached Schedule clearly identified the DREADS as the society or association of persons to whom section 13 referred to. The act became known simply as the Dread act, and was viewed by Rastafarians and human rights organisations as the most draconian piece of legislation ever recorded on Dominica’s books. The law outlawed acts of terrorism, including shooting or injuring police officers and members of the Dominica Defence force ; threatening magistrate and judges or witnesses relating to any of the offences under this act; destroying food crops, forest tree animals  or unlawfully occupying with acts of violence, preventing the enjoyment of their owners; assault, beat wound, hinder or prevent other persons from enjoying freedom of movement or association on grounds of their economic status, class social background, race, place of origin, colour or religious persuasion.’ 

Section 5 stated that “Any member of an unlawful association who appears in public or elsewhere wearing any uniform, badge or node of dress or other distinguishing mark or feature or manner wearing their hair,  shall be guilt of an offence, and shall be arrested without warrant by any member of the police force. Section 6  and sub-sections followed that  such persons would not be entitled to granted bail, and that it was offence to aid or abet any such persons in any way. A nine month jail term for the first offence, and a maximum 2 year custodial sentence was to be imposed on any one found guilty for a subsequent conviction.  

The act also stated that that no criminal proceedings either criminal or civil would be brought against  person, or member of the police force  who injures or even killed a member The Dreads who were found at any time night or day, inside a dwelling house.

Ironically, While the act outlawed a society that kept the names of its of any of its executive or members secret from the public, it clearly stated that this did not apply to societies such as Free Masons, The Foresters and the Odd fellows  whose secretary  could establish that ‘to the satisfaction of a magistrate,  that the society or lodge is being run in conformity with the rules which regulate such societies.’ 

The act, however, in section 12 declared that ‘a society or association could appeal on a point of law to the High Court  from the decision of the minister who designated it an unlawful society or association to the high court. In turn, either party could appeal such a decision of the Court of appeal. In a further amendment passed on December 12, 1974, the act mentioned that no persons belonging to a prohibited association could hold public office. It also gave the police in the course of a search of a premises to seize any books, documents  or other printed matter  which they deemed to be used to further the aims and objectives of the unlawful society and prejudicial to public safety, public order and public health.

#Deputy Premiere, Patrick John, became premiere when Edward Oliver Leblanc stepped down in July of 1974.  The Patrick John administration, under pressure to deal with what he termed, ,‘the Dread Menace’ and reports that members of the Dreads were harassing members of the public in their holdings in the hills, and attacking tourists, used the state of unrest to woo the Dominica electorate at the 1975 general elections. Desmond Trotter would be convicted of killing an American and the rift between the Dreads and the Society widened. On April 2, 1975, the Rastafarian Movement Association of Jamaica wrote to the John administration expressing its outrage at the Unlawful Societies and Associations Act The contents of were published in the New Chronicle in its April 19, 1975 edition# The Rastafarians called the act, ‘ a violation of human rights inscribed in the United Nations Charter 2. The letter also stated, “ after 400 years of from white colonial slavery, you as a black government should be ashamed to introduce legislation that will put the African people in your country, Dominica, back in the state of feudalism. This reactionary piece of legislation, “ the Rastas said, “is a threat not only to I and I, Rastafarians,  but to all progressive Africans of this hemisphere.” The letter also called on the government to free all dreads convicted under the act, “ so that normalcy may prevail.” The missive concluded with a call by for the government to deal with urgent social and economic problems facing the island instead.  

#The Waitikubuli Nyabinghi House of Rastafari writing in the Rastafari publication, Jahug in 2000, related in an article entitled, RASTAFARI IN WAITIKUBULI DEMANDING JUSITCE, “ I and I were hounded and beaten with chains and rifle butts. Over 120 of I and I were viciously battered and jailed…I and I books and literature were confiscated and burned.  I and I schools closed down. I and I garden plots were trampled upon and destroyed. I and I dwellings burned to the ground. Over 35 Rastafari Idren were brutally murdered under the DREAD ACT between 1974 to 1979. I and I were framed for murder  and other charges and given long term sentences.”  

Among the local voices to question the legality of the Dread Act were parliamentary opposition leader and barrister Eugenia Charles and such individuals as Rupert Sorhaindo, a teacher at the St Mary’s Academy where the Black power revolution first took root, and barrister, Brian Alleyne brother to Dread leader, Peter ‘Ras Man’  Alleyne.

LIVING UNDER THE DREAD ACT
The passage of the infamous legislation, The prohibited and Unlawful Societies and Associations Act of 1974  cast a very dark shadow of the history of the island for the next seven years. Although condemned internationally as unconstitutional, the law gave  the Royal Dominica Police Force, the Dominica Defence Force and vigilante groups comprising of ordinary citizens carte blanche  to kill on sight any member of ’The Dreads’. The killing of Dominicans by Dominica, perhaps never seen  since the days of the ‘Last Maroon War’ fought in Dominica between 1812 and 1815 in which captured runaway  slaves were publicly and brutally killed. Atrocities were committed by both sides the authorities acting under orders, dissident dreadlocks fighting a guerrilla-style  war in the heights of Giraudel, and other areas surrounding Roseau.    The  enforcement of the Dread Act by the John administration, to say the least, brought on difficult times for the peaceful Dreads. Those who had adopted a Judaic-Ethiopia response to the Holy Bible, and sought to practice various tnents found in the Old Testament. Particularly, Number 6 verses 1-27.

  Through the actions of the police, the Dominica Defence Force and vigilantes life was dangerous and many brethren lost their lives, and so did a number of citizens, both foreign and local. The news media of the day was awash daily with  updates from the government and the activities of the authorities on its progress on exterminating the dreads. #Just days after the passage of the Dread Act in November a retired Canadian couple, Mr and Mrs Bright  who had built a house in the interior of Dominica at  Pond Case were murdered by unknown persons and their bodies were burnt along with their home. Historian Lennox Honychurch writing in his publication The Dominica Story, wrote
 “ The case has never  been satisfactorily explained. With unaccustomed journalistic speed, The Educator painted a vivid cover story on the incident the following day  and the tragedy was added to the wild spiral of unnerving events caused increased tension.”
 Between the years 1974 and 1981 a catalogue of offences were blamed on the dreads ranging from cultivation of marijuana, theft, kidnapping, murder and arson. Incidents that were to infuriate the general population, particularly the farmers in the rural villages and hamlets were reported that they were prevented from working in their holdings in the mountains. 
CANNABIS SATIVA KNOWN TO RASTAFARIANS AS THE HOLY WEED

Indeed, the onslaught by the police on youths sporting dreadlocks, or who were known black power activists caused many to flee from the towns to the hills, seeking refuge in sheds  and abandon estate houses. Many helped themselves to fruits and provisions wherever they could find them, while some who penetrated deep in the woods, built bamboo huts and planted small scale gardens and marijuana. Marijuana which is known in scientific terms as cannabis sativa,  also referred to weed, herb, ganja was also a point of consternation between the dreads and the authorities. 

I can remember as a teenager, reading about the happenings in the Chronicle and hearing the news on the Radio Dominica of random acts of violence allegedly committed by dreadlocked persons and of the horrific reaction of the police who would arrest and beat any one who fitted the description of a dread. One individual at that time surfaced as Dominica’s most feared and wanted man. A dread from Granvillia, in Portsmouth  by the name of Comrad Galloway alias Tumba who, perhaps with others, in November of 1976, kidnapped two young women, #Junee Whyke and Juline St Jean  from the town of Portsmouth, and held them in his hideout in the hills somewhere in the hills of Portsmouth region for several months before they were rescued by police. At the time, many believed that the girls went with Tumba by their own will, and it was even rumoured that one of them or both were his wives. The stories of Tumba’s escapades and encounters with the police and defence became the stuff that legends are made out of. His photograph was placed on a wanted dead or alive poster  in The Chronicle and stories of him leaping out of hiding places and into ravines evading the police were rife. There were even talk of him being protected by certain black magic powers that enabled him to evade capture by sensing imminent danger and making good his escape. Again, 

The dramatic rescue of the girls was recorded in the local press this way: “The rescue operation was led by Assistant Superintendent Bannis of the Royal Dominica Police Force, and included recently appointed Inspector Gene Pestina  and numerous other officers,”  the front page news article of the January, 8 1977 edition read, adding, “… the company of  police officers left that town [Portsmouth] at 4 am and began a seven-hour journey to forest hills whre the girls were believed to have been held in captivity.. At about 2p.m the rescue party encounter Comrade Gallaway, alias Tomba who was engaged in a garden operation. The police open fire but Gallaway managed to escape their hail of bullets and disappeared into the surrounding bushes .” According to the piece, the police gave chase after Tumba for about a mile until they stumbled  upon a hut. Inside Tumba had not anticipated  the police catching up with him so quickly, and was trying to convince the girls to escape with him when the police arrived. “On recognising the police squad Gallaway made his escape from a midst a blaze of gunfire into a precipice leaving the girls behind.” Reports indicate one of the young women received a bullet wound in the leg during the operation and so did  Tumba. Bleeding badly in need of medical attention. He hid in the Granvillia boxing reception building. Later that week,  police acting on information disclosing the whereabouts of Tumba from two of his close dread companions, Mickey St. Jean, the brother of Juline, and another Hamlet Hyacinth who had been arrested by a party of Portsmouth citizens and interrogated into the police  swooped down on him and mortally wounding him ending the hunt for Dominica’s most wanted rebel. 

But the war on Dreads was far from over. 

 Tumba was not the only name that was beginning to take on mythic proportions. The activities of Dreads such as Leroy Etienne aka Pokosion from Fond Baron, Loubiere and Mal Esprit from Belles did little to appease the persecution that the Dreads faced. As the Dreads wandered from camp to camp,  using mountain tracks and travelling by night, just as the Negres Maron did a century and a half ago, they were constantly pursued. Dreads were antisocial in that they not only shunned combing or cutting their hair, but also eating  flesh, which they called deaders; riding in motor cars (iron). Food cooked using salt was called (swine jot) and for clothes, grass skirts made out of vertiver were preferred instead of shirt and trousers. The jargon of the Dreads was extensive, and became sought of a secret code of communication between Idren. The police and government were seen as Babylon while Roseau was termed concrete.  Villages on the other hand were termed vile age. And for good reason too, as young men were rounded up forcibly beaten and arrested and jailed in Roseau and in villages around Dominica. Musician and member of the Ethiopian world Federation  Inc, Bro Latef in his own words related his experiences to this author in an email dated, 29 May, 2010 which epitomises the class struggle that was waging in Dominica. The contents of which are paraphrased here due to spelling mistakes contained in the original text Bro Latef was responding to a request by the author for testimonials from brethren of their experiences during the days of the Dread Act in Dominica.

#“First I must start by giving thanks to King Rastafari for his goodness and
his infinite love to all who keep the faith and do the works of Rastafari.“I was born in the year 1961 the first of June grow in St. Joseph on the Morne.
I went to school till the age of 14, so I was born just in the “air of the movement“.
When I left school at the age of 14 I embraced the movement of Jah people.
My mother was alright with my decision  because I took the Bible; reasoning the Bible
to our time and to come, which is now .
We talked of love, unity  and living closer to nature as is Jah plan and looking at our history the suffering of our brothers an sisters from all those years of slavery .
We thought  of our independency so that the  mulattoes  raise an argument that they are in a fight with the young men and woman of the country Dominica so they use their power telling the government how to deal with the Rastafari movement.  Now the laws.
began changing make it hard to live; they pass the terrorist act just for the people
who accept the Rastafarian movement; to shoot at sight any dreadlocks man,
woman and child. You’d  be shot dead .
Bro Latef (pictured above) during the 1970’s
After a few brothers get killed innocently,  my mum cut my lox while I was asleep. When wake in the morning my locks were gone. She say to me, that she  cannot let the police kill me just for my hair. I say to her when I’ll be 18, I will let my hair grow. It was only 3 months that I had let my hair grow; It was a struggle  to be a Rastafarian
In DA  (Dominica), brothers run  to Ggwada  (Guadeloupe) Martinique and many got killed by police. I  think they should pay today for their crimes.
In those it was hard.  Then the mulattoes  took power because they have all the wealth of the country for Dominica. There are  10 parishes, 9 is controlled by the slave masters children. The imperialist make it harder with a new law called Dread Act.
Brother Latef, went on to speak of his experiences of police brutality that was a common occurrence during the horrendous years of the Dread Act. 

 “Is in those times in1982 the police take me in a house I was at sleep when I was awaken with a huge knock on the door from the moment I open the door I started receiving  blows. I walk across the village receiving kicks, cuffs and  cuffs and grabs  with the bottom of their AK 47. When I got to the station,  there was not much I get a blow from one who say to me you know we have the right to kill you I answered,  yes I know you can kill me if you want. One say, “I will not kill you but will give you plenty blows, probably you can die.”  I bawl, I scream… every body could here me from any were you may have been in the village“. I heard the telephone rang it was about 3 in the morning,  that’s when they stop beating my body. It was my sister she said the screaming woke her and she say,  “this is bad,  so I call the station an say stop beating my brother. I am the village staff nurse.  I will give witness if you kill my brother. The inspector told the men to  stop, and the beating stop but as Rastafarians we suffer in the mountains were we look for peace the defence force was sent to the bush to fight unarmed men young men. A lot of seconded-class children was to suffer.

As the third class, I took part in all the demonstration rallies for  a  change of government the 19 79 hurricane David, Oliver Seraphin government so much to say I know I have a time in Dominica history as kabinda, Galloway Pokosion and  many more demonstration for kabinda release from prison. Eric Joseph before he was released, I travelled to London to  look for support  foe the campaign for his freedom. I had his photo when he was caught and brought to the Princesses Margaret Hospital. I thank Jah  he is out.  I have been  with the movement from the age of 14.  I left Dominica in 1994 to Paris. I stayed in London, then travelled  in Europe and  I went to Africa.
I will be going to Guadeloupe 22 of June and the first of June is my earth day date of my birth. I will be playing at a show the 26 June then al travel to Dominica.
Rastafari brother, there is a lot more… it take lot of time to write. Jah bless one love… brother Latef 

DREAD  ACT SUSPENDED FOR 38 DAYS
With events like these happening all over the country, repeated calls from citizens at home and abroad for the government to re examine its strategy of dealing with the dread issue could not go unheeded by the  administration of Premier Patrick John. Consequently,  #John granted a 38-day amnesty to young people referred to as Dread in an attempt to encourage and initiate dialogue with those people now in hiding in the interior  of the island.”  The amnesty which lasted from July 25 1975 to August 31st, 1975 saw the powers that were granted to the police and defence force under the Prohibited and Unlawful Societies Act popularly known as the Dread Act temporarily suspended.  The object being to initiate dialogue with dread leaders and to provide training and job opportunities for them. However, such a move by the government was viewed with suspicion and distrust. Some said this was a half baked measure intended to fool the people, “What is needed required is a total, unconditional amnesty through the repeal of the Dread /act. It is a farce because the Dread Act was unconstitutional  in the first place, “  One observer quoted in the newspaper as said, adding, “ It’s adding insult  to injury by granting a limited amnesty for only thirty eight days”  The editorial went on summarise that there speculation that the Dreads will not respond to Government’s gesture because, “ It is believed that the offer to lay down arms and reenter society  to receive training in jobs so as to become productive may not be very attractive to a cult that holds very strong feelings against work and exploitation in a Bourgeois dominated society.”

Meantime, Desmond Ras Kabinda Trotter who was languishing at Her Majesty’s Prison at stock farm had an unusual visitor in the night beging him to support the government’s amnesty.
# “…when I lose all my appeals from the Privy Counsel, and I just had about 21 days to live because they say I lost the last appeal, a white, a white man come to me twelve a clock in the cell in DA, and he tell me he come straight from the Privy Counsel, he is this and he is that, and if I want to live I must make a sworn statement telling all the brothers to come out from the hills, and give up the struggle, and things like that, and that they will save my life, and those kind of talk, you know. And I tell him best he go and build his gallows because he can’t tell me to say that because they don’t have no right to treat us like that and persecute us like that, and we don’t have no assurance that they will stop treating us like that.” 

THE DIDIER REPORT
A Commission of Enquiry was one of the instruments that the government appointed to look into the Dread problem. The amnesty was further  extended  to September  16 and then to September 30 to allow a task force to look into the origins and causes of Dreadism led by Methodist Minister,  Fr Alexander  and comprising committee members of Philmon Mathew, J.b Sampson, Rev W.O.M Pond, Lennox Honychurch, Lucia Blaize, Rev A Didier and superintendent T. N Bannis  to complete their mandate under “conditions favourable to meeting as many youth as possible”
On October 10th, 1975, twenty-eight page  document, now known as the Didier Report landed on the desk of Honourable Minister of Home Affairs. The findings of the committee  were collated in about a month, and according to Honychurch who sat on it, the committee had an eight-point reference. Among the findings were: #“the dissatisfied youth were of three types: the peaceful counter-culture group, the political activists and the criminal element.” The committee also disclosed that the numbers of youths in the hills was greatly exaggerated  and recommended that the Dread Act revised and  to become  a Terrorists  Act instead. Unsurprisingly, The John administration considered the recommendations “weak  and too conciliatory” 

Meanwhile, Phyllis Shand Allfrey  speaking of the report  in the #Friday, April 16th, 1976 edition of the 4-page, The Star newspaper, that she owned and edited on the contary found it was a  “ …a little masterpiece of humanitarian insight and its literary style is good.”  John Spector who reviewed the report said, “one conclusion that  I have deduced from this report confirmed my conviction that ‘dreadism’ springs from Black Power as fostered by Leblanc Labour Party in the form of black racialist nationalism -- in a political  move to isolate the opposition as white-oriented bourgeois.” He gave some further insight into the report stating that the document identified three (3) categories of ‘dreads’  -- those who were a peaceful, counter-culture group; those who were political activists and those who were driven by criminal intentions. He suggested that  that the dreads, were a ‘mating’ of Black Power ideas from the Rastafarians of Jamaica. Ones who were attracted to the ascetic and peaceful withdrawal from modern technological society. He praised the report  as a  splendid socio-investigation that was worthy of wide circulation that if published ealier could have “cleared up many  misconceptions, armed the police with knowledge rather than guns, calmed the fears of the populace.”

Needless to say, a lot of bad press on Dominica was generated throughout the Caribbean and further a field. Take for instance this piece from  #The Virgin  Islands Daily News December 28, 1974 edition, titled: DREADS TERROIZE DOMINICA written by Robert D Henl Jr,  in which he equated the troubles of the mid seventies with slave and maroon  revolts of the 1700‘s.  He wrote that, “ a reign of mounting terror imposed by black guerrilla and calling themselves ‘the Dreads’ who have been burning plantations and attacking whites on the beautiful West Indian Island of Dominica, falls into the classic pattern of black insurgency throughout the Antilles, going back nearly two centuries to the bloody and protracted revolts by which West  Indian slaves fought for freedom.”  The writer went on to list a catalogue of offences ranging from attacks against peasants and destruction of their crops and houses, maiming of cattle kidnapping and recruiting of children and the  murder of a number of American and Canadian citizens. He claimed that they were about 300 in number and that the dreads also directed their anger towards Syrian shop keepers, “ whom the blacks believe exploit them and usurp commercial opportunities.” the piece was heavy sensationalized   and gave the impression that Dominica was under siege by ones educated and influenced by with Marxist ideals. A group, The Movement for A New Dominica (MND) of whom published two underground newspapers. The writer also mentions the authorization of the police to shoot on sight any member of the Dreads and the restoration of of flogging and other severe sanctions to be used to stem the upsurge of the dread movement.

Another snap shot of those dreaded times can be gleaned from this account of #Don Bain a teacher, naturalist, panographer  and Director of the Geography Computing Facility, University of California, Berkeley, who was in Dominica conducting research.

“My work was in the rain forest and I went out exploring almost every day. I became adept with a cutlass (machete), a skill that gave me credibility with the locals. I hacked my way through the jungle, and uncovered paved trails built by the French in the 1750's, and the foundations of ill-fated plantations from the 1890's. I "discovered" waterfalls up to 300 feet tall and hot springs. I was wet all the time - that area gets up to 400 inches precipitation per year. Once it rained so hard I thought I was going to drown standing up, then was cut off by floodwaters for several hours.
In London between the two stays in Dominica I feverishly researched both the history and natural history of the Windward Islands. After Christmas I flew back to California. My wife and I were both pining for something not green and damp, so we spent a week in Death Valley, then a roundabout route back to Dominica, with stops at Harvard and the Smithsonian to meet Caribbean experts. Then the totally unexpected - on the overnight bus ride from Winston-Salem to Miami I developed pneumonia and almost died.
Finally back in Dominica we found that things had changed. A dissident group known as the "dreads" were causing unrest and committing random acts of violence against the government and others. A tourist was killed while watching the Mardi Gras parade - he was just the first white person handy. The Supreme Court judge was assassinated, and a state of martial law declared. Then the dreads disappeared, moving to secret camps in the interior.
Our friends advised us not to go back to L'Imprevue, it was too isolated to be safe. So we lived at Springfield Plantation, in a guarded compound with a few British expats. Springfield belonged to John Archbold, an American millionaire, who ran it as sort of a hotel, but also his Caribbean hideaway. It was a lovely place, just on the edge of the high rainfall belt so it was green and lush with rainbows, but a thousand feet up so it was cool. I continued to hike in the forest, but also did research down in the capital town of Roseau. We lived a comfortable life there, frequent parties with the old colonial set, Mr Archbold showing up once in a while, lots of gin and tonic, canapes served by bashful barefoot maids from mountain villages in starched uniforms. Alec Waugh was part of this social set, and wrote a book about it, "Island in the Rain". We realized later that we knew the originals of most of the characters and places in the book.
One night after a big party there came a knock on our door, after midnight. A neighbor was asking our blood types - one of the guests had been attacked by the dreads on his way home. Their favored mode of assassination was decapitation by cutlass, and he survived by virtue of his strong bull neck. More murders followed - an elderly Danish couple who had built their dream home on a cliff top in the interior had their heads cut off. With only about a hundred white people on the island (total population about 80,000) we could see our number coming up fast as the toll mounted to a dozen. Then the government officially asked all whites to leave the country for their own safety. We were off the next day, to Guadeloupe, sort of a mini last days of Saigon. We left most of our belongings behind, taking my books, papers, and photographs. It was a sad end to an amazing period in my life.
During this period of turmoil in Dominica I continued my explorations, sometimes meeting armed military patrols. There was one incident that I realized later could easily have been fatal. I was following a trail, one I had never noticed before, in very thick rain forest. It was a well-worn trail, so I assumed it led to a remote plantation. After half a mile or so I turned a corner and walked right into the middle of a circle of dreads, sitting on stumps or sprawled on the ground. There were rifles and machine guns around, and a heavy cloud of marijuana smoke. I stopped and looked around, they stared back, nobody moved. I turned in place and walked quickly back into the forest, then ran back to the road and flagged a passing vehicle. I probably owed my life to the dread's indulgence in ganj, a Rastafarian trait - they were too stoned to catch me, if indeed they even tried. I realized two weeks later, when the Danes were killed nearby, that these must have been the culprits. After we left Dominica there was a pitched battle between dreads and the Dominica Defence Force (army), and several were killed.”

Meantime, many years later, the local Dread leaders who managed to survive the dread act, refuted the sentiments of the previous writer, and released a statement through an #online forum The Rastafari Collective dated April 8, 2001
Greetings brethrens & sistrens. 

As sons & daughters of Rastafari INI must stand and demand, in one way or an other from the leaders of these little Islands surrounded by water, where under these brutal laws of colonial powers, rulers try to by both day and night mislead INI people making them live 'out of themselves' by having them worship false concepts and forgetting their Roots 'N' Culture. 

One of the concepts INI have to eradicate is the misconception of INI Hila Sacramental Herb. The shitsystem have used all other means trying to mislead INI people and have FAILED!!! Now! Them come fighting against INI Sacrament against INI LIVITY. Them still TRYING and FAILING. For RASTAFARI coming this generation with WORDS, SOUNDS & POWER!
Right hear in Waitikubuli in the 1970's between 1972-1979
the shitsystem tried all ways possible to eradicate and prevent the Uprising Of RASTAFARI. By use of the most Unhuman Act passed in the Caribbean "THE DREAD ACT". 

Under this act they used imitate/wolves in lion clothing gave them access to ammunition set them loose in the hills and tarnishing the name of RASTAFARI. After they trod up into INI peaceful hills wiping off nuff of INI peaceful Elders some had no dealings with the shitstem. Over 21 of INI Elders in Waitikubuli were brutally massacred without any apparent reason but killing them desposing of them and having no concern as to how their family would react. Two instances one Elder sistren pregnant was gunned down by a river and two brethren 'on the grounds INI about to erect INI Tabernacle' were gunned down in their sleep, one of them was not more than a hundred feet away from his mothers dwellings. 

After all these things they have done in the 70's now the trying to fight against Not only INI Sacramental Rights, also INI LIVITY.
INI protest these acts and asks for INI brethren and sistren to trad the same trad.
Recently having no Raspect for one of INI elders who has come a long way them stop him up take him to them station and want to charge him for HERB when this supposed to as a nation be INI IRITUAL RIGHTS.
RASTAFARI INI could never be guilty for the use or possession of HERBS that is INI Rights.
INI never give up INI LIVITY.
GLORY TO WORDS, GLORY TO SOUNDS, GLORY TO THE POWERS OF INI ALMIGHTY FATHER, INI KING OF KINGS HAILE I SELASSIE I INI FIRST.

 NEW WAVE OF TERROR

In January 1977 the authorities leashed a new wave of attacks on the dread cultists

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