Monday, April 18, 2005

Rastafari Never Fail I Yet

published: Sunday | April 17, 2005
Cedric Wilson, Guest Columnist

THE BALLOTS have been counted, the votes tallied and the results yield no surprise. Bruce Golding, leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), has emerged miles ahead of his three rivals in the West Kingston by-election.

Such is the reality of garrison politics in Jamaica. It is easier to have a hurricane in January or for it to snow in Montego Bay than for voters in a garrison to elect a representative from a different party.

Yet, for all the certainty of the outcome at last Thursday's poll, if we consider Ras Astor Black, the man who got eight votes against Mr. Golding's 8,000, it is evident that the by-election was not entirely about garrison politics.

It's not the first time Ras Black of the Jamaica Alliance Movement has offered to serve as a member of Parliament. In March 2001 in the Northeast St. Ann by-election, he was there as a candidate ­ Shahine Robinson of the JLP won. He also ran in the October 2002 General Election for the Northwest St. James parliamentary seat in which Dr. Horace Chang of the JLP emerged victorious.

Historically, third parties have failed to impact Jamaican politics, yet Ras Black entered the race. Never mind the fact that he lacked the resources to mount a serious campaign - and don't introduce the impossibility of a garrison constituency to an outsider - what is striking about Ras Black is his remarkable tenacity and his indomitable belief that the life of the ordinary Jamaican nan be far better.


Ras Black draws inspiration from his faith in Rastafari. Four years ago, during the run up to the Northeast St. Ann by-election, RJR talk show host, Barbara Gloudon interviewed him. She asked him why he was so confident of victory in the election. His laconic response was 'Rastafari never fail I yet'.

More than anything, Rastafari genius lies in its symbolism. Indeed, its contribution to the forging of a Jamaican consciousness is derived from the fact that it recreated the dominant images of Christianity in the likeness of the black man and therefore it substituted the Emperor Halie Selassie for a blond, blue-eyed Jesus. It hailed Marcus Garvey, a man despised by many middle and upper-class Jamaicans before the 1960s, as a prophet. It tapped into the indigenous rhythms of the people and used reggae as a vehicle to bring to the foreground the lamentations and the hopes of the oppressed and the dispossessed. Indeed, Bob Marley, perhaps the most well-known apostle of the faith, is embraced internationally through his songs because the struggle of Rastafari is universal. And like the seventeenth century French philosopher Rene Descartes, who reaffirmed his existence when he declared 'Cognito, ergosum: I think, therefore I am', Rastafari proclaims the pride in the black identity in the assertion of 'I and I'. In stating 'I and I', the rastaman blurs the definition between the first person and the third person; he discards the distinction between 'me and you' because there is the implicit knowledge that one man's existence cannot be separated from that of the other man. It is in this respect Rastafari, through the manipulation of symbols and use of language, brought the social issues of the people at the base of the society from the background to the foreground and created the mood, the rethinking of the socio-economic model of the 1960s and 70s.

The question is: What are the policies Ras Black and the Jamaica Alliance Movement propose? At the launch of the movement October 2001, Ras Black proclaimed a message of love stated that the goal is to downsize the parliament to 14 members; cease the repayment of debt for 20 years in order to rebuild the country's infrastructure; remove all taxes from imports; abolish income taxes and increase the general consumption tax to 17 per cent.


Certainly, the budget should be smaller with fewer parliamentarians, but the policy prescription is at best impractical. The implications are grave when the implications for balancing the budget, addressing a massive balance of payment imbalance and the reaction of the international community a default by Jamaica in payments of its debt.

And yet, we cannot deny that behind Ras Black and his movement is a hope that most Jamaicans cherish - the elimination of the paralysing violence and a desire for economic prosperity.

When Ras Black journeyed from his home in Trelawny to run as a candidate in West Kingston, the very birth place of the Rastafari faith, it was a symbolic trip. And in doing what many would never dare to even contemplate, he epitomises the soul of Jamaica.

There was no way he could ever win and yet he believes that there is the possibility for change. Maybe when he says victory is sure because "Rastafari never fail I yet" he really means for any people 'hope will never fail'.

Cedric Wilson is an economics consultant who specialises in market regulation. Send your comments to
Link to original article -

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Help JAM FREE-UP the Trench Town Experience

Rastafari Family,

Help JAM FREE-UP the Trench Town experience so it can start the flow of love, again, from Back-a-wall to the world.

I, Ras Astor Black, Ras-pectfully request your assistance in reaching out to the Rastafari Entertainers and Rastafari Family giving I the opportunity to speak as the Member of Parliament for Western Kingston. Rastafari must have a voice in their parliament to continue the good work of our brother Bob Marley.

On April 13th the JAM symbol on the ballot will be the HEART. Most Jamaicans today say they are Rastafari in the HEART and with that at HEART, I man would love to see the People of Western Kingston vote for the people of Jamaica with their HEART.

To contribute from the HEART to the Love’N Jamaica Campaign, please send or deposit some funds in the Rastafari Affinity Account number 10134860 (JNBS MoBay Branch) or any Jamaica National Building Society in Jamaica.

For more information call: Ras Astor Black, President, Jamaica Alliance Movement

Thanks from the HEART

Ras Astor Black


You may be interested in this but be sure to read Ras John's editorial comment linked at the end of the article as a comment.

Historical box set on Wailers by Bunny Wailer now available
By Basil Walters Observer staff reporter
Friday, March 18, 2005

The long awaited historical box set documenting the history of the
famed Wailers group by Bunny Wailer is now on the market. On the box
set Bunny Wailer (Neville O'Riley Livingston) traces the history of
the group and his special relationship with members Bob Marley and
Peter Tosh from as early as their childhood days.

Bunny Wailer

"As you know, last year was the Wailers' 40th anniversary, but we're
now into 2005, and I've put together this box set of about 107 tracks
to mark the celebration of that milestone of the Wailers," Bunny
Wailer told Splash.

"Four CDs having the musical renditions of the Wailers and three CDs
contain a written and narrated professional history of the Wailers by
I Bunny Wailer entitled "Musically Speaking: The Wailers Legacy".
These latter three CDs will clear the air of a lot of things people
write about the Wailers fictitiously and otherwise. Coming from the
lion's mouth (not horses') who was there and who was a part of all of
what took place."

The box set also contains a picture booklet of those people who shared
in the history of the Wailers and according to Bunny Wailer "weh other
people leave out when dem a write dem history... I make sure seh,
these people who were the Wailers' heart and soul, some of whom are
still alive, I make sure their pictures are in the booklet and the
environment that the Wailers grew up in."

Jah B, as Bunny Wailer is also known, said that his latest project is
designed to fight against piracy, an issue he feels passionately about
and is committed to fight against.

"So this box set now is also designed to fight against piracy and
bootlegging of the Wailers that have been happening for so many years,
about three decades now. But I don't give up the struggle of fighting
against piracy."

The box set is packaged in what resembles a replica of the Ark of the
Covenant which Bunny Wailer described as "a treasure chest of vintage
Wailers plus...."