Monday 14th May, 2018 –A long-standing member of the Rastafarian community in Antigua and Barbuda created history in Washington today when he addressed the Permanent Council of the OAS on the actions government has taken on behalf of Rastafarians.
Ambassador Franklin ‘King Frank-I’ Francis in his address to representatives of member countries of the international organization, used the platform to thank the Gaston Browne led government for the apology issued to members of the Rastafarian community, who for decades suffered mainly for their use of the cannabis plant.
Ambassador Francis asserted that the Rastafari nation has long lobbied that the use of cannabis is a human rights issue. He denounced the persecution of Africans through slavery and prohibition of the herb as crimes against humanity, which go contrary to international conventions.
King Frank-I used his platform to renew a call for reparatory justice.
Ambassador Francis expressed hope that the call for reparatory justice will not only be echoed by Caribbean leaders, but also by hemispheric leaders and the international community.
In a Caribbean Media Corporation report in April, Prime Minister Gaston Browne declared the prohibition of cannabis less than 100 years ago was not prompted by altruistic motives or concern for the health or well-being of users, but to serve ‘the racist, political and economic interests’ of the then global powers.