Rastas pleased with police commissioner’s visit to Bobo Hill
Priest Christopher Morant yesterday welcomed the move by the Police High Command to visit Rastafarians at Bobo Hill in Bull Bay, St Andrew, even if it does little to aid their cause for repatriation to the motherland in Africa.
The senior officials in the Bobo Shanti order said it was "glorifying" to see the lawmen, who arrived at Bobo Hill last Friday, ahead of the Rastafarians' preparation for Sabbath and the Black Christ Mass celebration the following day. The contingent was led by Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson and Senior Superintendent Tommie-Lee Chambers, commanding officer for the Kingston Eastern Police Division.
"We were glad to see them come because over the years we see that the brutality change. Our father King Emmanuel work him way that you can see the visible change today," Priest Morant told THE STAR on Monday.
"Our father showed us that we are going to be here and we are going to see a lot of people come, both high and low. We always expect from the president to the baby to come forward. Jah say they will bring his right come!" he continued.
In spite of their low regard for the Westminster system, Priest Morant said it would have been "immature" for them to have shunned the police despite their unpleasant history.
"This kingdom is for all black people, so we welcome dem same way. Dem a wi people, wi bredda and sister. Is just a suit dem inna," added Morant who also stated that he has seen visible changes.
MOCK OR GENUINE
"One time ago, even on the television, I see it one of the officers say when dem was training on the range, it was a Rastaman head dem shoot at as target. Me see it for myself, a no one tell me. Is a regular documentary weh run every year at a certain time. So it leaving from that brutality, and from the talk weh say 'If the prison house cannot hold Rasta, di cemetery will'. All dem talk deh mek too, enuh, by the leaders in Jamaica here. So it a leave from dem talk right now to where we see police officer genuinely pon di road a salute and a hail I and I as Bobo Shanti. Some may a do it for mocking, but we see say it a happen for both ways, whether mock or genuine," he said.
Priest Morant said the commissioner's visit suggested that it was possible for them to have dialogue with the prime minister to discuss repatriation among other things.
"We also wanted to know what would bring the prime minister here, seeing that the commissioner would come. Him say on social media, 'Bobo Shanti, you people put Jamaica on the map and you should get the honour from the highest office'. Him sit in the Office of the Prime Minister. Over 30 years letters have been going to his officer, enuh, whosoever come and go get it. Naturally, we want to discuss repatriation and security, because in reality we are being held hostage. Di only thing is that it look camouflage now," he said.
The visit forms part of the police's crime-fighting strategy in the division, which has consistently been one of the island's most violent.
According to Senior Superintendent Stephanie Lindsay, who is the head of the police's Corporate Communications Unit, Anderson met his objectives during Friday's exercise.
"We had a very good interaction with the Bobo Shanti. They gave us some thoughts about their doctrines. It is good that we go into Bobo Hill when they don't have any crime ... because a lot of people have the view that all the police's assets must be focused on hotspots. No! We have our welfare community and there are parts of Jamaica who don't get a lot of the policing effort. Most of the times the commissioner is visiting crime-prone areas, people are in pain most of the times. But this time was a little bit different. Our focus for 2023 is to make every single citizen understand that their lives matter," Lindsay said.