Bahamas: Rasta Pipedream? Lawsuit Seeks Drug Convictions Wiped Out And Damages

A GROUP of Rastas is seeking to have all criminal convictions that relate to Rastafari possession, cultivation and supply of Indian hemp since 1963 wiped out.

In a writ filed in the Supreme Court yesterday, lawyers for the Rastas also cite significant persecution for which they demand redress, from unconstitutional searches of persons and homes on suspicion of hemp possession to unconstitutional cutting of Rastas’ locks in prison.

The plaintiffs, represented by Wayne Munroe, QC, and lawyers of his firm, want compensatory and vindicatory damages for breaches of their rights under Articles 15, 21, 22 and 26 of the constitution and are suing the Attorney General for the actions of the Royal Bahamas Police Force and officers of the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services. They claim the practice of their livity – their “enlightened” lifestyle – has been hindered by decades of oppressive acts.

Attorney General Carl Bethel has said the lawsuit has poor prospects of success.

The writ says: “The hindrance relates to the persecution of Rastafari for the acts in practising their livity in the cultivation, possession and supply of Indian hemp which is one of the sacraments of Rastafari


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