School case is Rasta discrimination – Lashley

The state’s decision to prosecute a Rastafarian couple for refusing to send their children to school is a “classic case” of discrimination against Rastafarianism, former parliamentarian Hamilton Lashley is claiming.

On September 24, both parents were found to be in breach of Section 41 Clause (b) of the Education Act, Chapter 41 on the grounds that there was no record of the children  – a boy and a girl both under the age of ten – ever attending formal classes. The case has since become a topic of national discussion as questions about religious freedom have surfaced while the two await sentencing.

In an emotional interview with Barbados TODAY, Lashley called for an amendment of the law to ensure that people were not deprived of their religious freedoms.

“In my view this was classic case of Rasta profiling in this country. The impression was given that these two children are illiterate, they can’t read and write, they backward, only because they are Rasta. It was not until later that it was discovered that the children are very intelligent and they are not illiterate and they have been schooled well at home and that is the important point,” the former Minister of Social Transformation said.

In addition, Lashley contended, that the court of public opinion rushed to judgment based solely on societal stereotype rather than fact.

“Many Barbadians did not expect to hear that contrary to their [preconceived] belief, that the children were so well learned and had such a high educational standard for their age. This is because psychologically in most Barbadians minds, they profile Rastas in this country as outlaws and persons who don’t conform to the norms of society.

“Therefore, I thought it was a wicked thing, the type of profiling and misinformation that was passed on. Of course, it raises the questions of religious rights and privileges. So if as part of their religion they are keeping their children at home as part of their faith, I think they have a valid point,” he stressed.

However, the social activist said he was happy that issues facing fringe religions such as Rastafarianism are finding their way into the public discourse.

“For years in Barbados, Rastas have been profiled as criminals, gangsters, basically everything evil under the sun. Rasta’s rights in this country have been violated in the early days. In some instances they were forced to cut off their locks to conform to the system . . . I am now seeing 180-degree turn around because when the Rastas were talking about eating ital and eating healthy, they labelled them as bad people. Now everybody is obsessed with getting that same healthy food.

“The same locks that they wanted to cut off because it didn’t conform to society, is now being sold commercially. I am sure that Rihanna did not grow locks in three weeks. Now it is fashion,” the former Member of Parliament for St Michael South East said.

15 Responses to School case is Rasta discrimination – Lashley

  1. jrsmith October 18, 2016 at 5:27 am

    Another clever politician, a case of discrimination against Rastafarians , both parents were in breach of (Section 41 clause B,) of the Education act ,Chapter 41)..

    MR, ex politician you must prove to us bajans your case of discrimination…..

  2. harry turnover October 18, 2016 at 7:18 am

    I am sure that there are cases where other people WHO ARE NOT BLACK are NOT SENDING their children to School either…..THEY ARE BEING TAUGHT AT HOME AS WELL.
    Yes !! there IS discrimination …against BLACK PEOPLE ..not RASTAS !!
    I say to those parents do some research and then SUE…..LEFT RIGHT AND CENTRE.

  3. Zeus October 18, 2016 at 8:03 am

    Harry man you beginning to let me down ….there is a law of the land and if you can’t abide with the law leave and go live somewhere else … can’t be complaining today about certain laws being broken and tomorrow when laws are being enforced you hide behind discrimination ….another thing is you started your statement by saying you are sure there are other cases …do you know that for a fact or just saying that to enforce your statement …..I would not even bother to respond to the statement of mr lashley …..pure crap

  4. seagul October 18, 2016 at 8:04 am

    One crazy bald head to chase out of town. This colonizer nonsense (Section blah blah) this is the mentality of the overseer.
    Exploitation, suttle segregation, marginalization and discrimination are there for any fool to see.

  5. Ralph W Talma October 18, 2016 at 9:27 am

    1. I am sad to read the above, as my cousin is a Rastafarian and a nicer person you will never meet. He does a lot for the Island and we are all very proud of him and also of his late wife. Their children are fine Citizens of Barbados.
    2. Here in the UK, children can be educated at home for a variety of reasons as long as the local authority is content.
    3. Perhaps a bit of educational flexibility is needed.

    • Coralita October 18, 2016 at 9:24 pm

      Go back and read your number 2. “Here in the UK, children can be educated at home for a variety of reasons as long as the local authority is content.”

      They key is “LOCAL AUTHORITY IS CONTENT”. The local authority in Barbados cannot be content because the parents did not make an application to homeschool as is required.

      Homeschooling is done all across the world but parents MUST apply to the state to do such. Why should Barbados be any different?

  6. Donild Trimp October 18, 2016 at 9:36 am

    Home schooling is not a criminal offense.

    From my understanding of this case, the argument is that the paperwork to home school was not filed.

    This prosecution or (persecution) as I see it is clearly rastafarian discrimination.

  7. Sharon Taylor
    Sharon Taylor October 18, 2016 at 9:42 am

    I agree wid u Hammie…. If dem parents were white, d ministry of edumacation wudda tek dem under dem wing, and show dem all d loopholes so that they could continue to school their children at home! I will continue to say Babylon system izza fraud!

  8. Helicopter(8P) October 18, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    Mr Lashley ! If I may ask ! Under the rules and regulations of the education act of Barbados is it not necessary for persons who are instructors of elementary and secondary learning be registered with the Ministry of Education or be seconded by a registered teaching instructor?

  9. Hal Austin October 18, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    Brother Hammie, you are right. The state has failed the parents and the children. Let’s talk through this case.
    Two children failed to attend school. The respective class teachers should have noted this during roll call.
    After three or four consecutive absences (according to the school policy|), this should have been reported to the head, who should either write to the parents or even visit them to ask about the children’s welfare.
    |In any case, s/he should have alerted school welfare. After they continued absence, school welfare should have intervened and resolve the matter.
    If the parents wanted home-schooling, then welfare should have taken them through the hurdles.
    If welfare decided to prosecute then the case should have been dealt with in the family division, not in an open criminal court, since the privacy of the children should be paramount. By identifying the parents the state – and an irresponsible media – have identified the children.
    For the rest of their lives they will now be know as the Rasta children who did not go to school.
    This is an unforgivable failure by the state. Our administrative system is crap, and our legal system is even worse.

  10. Tony Waterman October 18, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    “The state’s decision to prosecute a Rastafarian couple for refusing to send their children to school is a “classic case” of discrimination against Rastafarianism,”

    And to thinh that you Sir, was a Law Maker in this Country, for some time, in the not too far Past, They Broke a Law that “Surely” must be seen as having Gotten us to where we are Today, they did not follow the LONG STANDING Section of our Education act.

    “Section 41 Clause (b) of the Education Act, Chapter 41 on the grounds that there was no record of the children – a boy and a girl both under the age of ten – ever attending formal classes.”

    First off, let us assume that they were unaware of this Section in the Education act, Ignorance of the Law is NO Excuse that is well known by MOST People, but perhaps they were aware of the Law, but refused to Follow it, which one? i don’t really know.

    How as a former Law maker can you state that enforcing the Long Standing Education Act, constitutes Religious Persecution and Rasta Profiling, no where has that been expressed in any news Reports, or by any Official Educational or Judicial, that Sir is just a figment of your Imagination, or your chance to get back into the News.

    I do believe that it could have been settled more amicably, but sitting down with the Parents, explaining the Laws to them, and them giving them the Chance to Conform, including guiding them as to how to go about getting them the necessary permission to Continue Home Schooling Legally, this is the type of thin promised by our CHief Justice when he promised us the elusive Conflict resolution.

    Mr.Lashley!!! you are doing the “Hammy” again.

    BTW SIR!!! I did not read any where, in any of the articles about this case where anyone claimed that those Children were Illeterate.

  11. BoboTheClown October 18, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    Rasta my ass . All these idiots running around with any kind f Animal hair that they can find and looking stupid in the process actually believe they are Rastas. I f you were to question 50 percent of them they wouldn’t be able to tell you five things that are genuine about Rastafarian Religion or practices.
    Where do these Rastas practice their religious beliefs? When ever have you seen a Rastafarian Convention in Barbados?Most think that if someones hair is braided or weaved in a certain style that qualifies them to be Rasta, or if they don’t eat some meats, Pork, Beef etc. Stupidity has become away of life for many of our people.You can’t teach that.

  12. Brewster October 18, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    Whether rasta or not they should have been registered with the education board as being home schooled. I can’t quite understand why their parents aren’t entitled to do so as is acceptable in the UK and U.S.Strange. Barbados is usually in line with one of these countries. The parents normally need to show – the board their educational program that should be in line with a school based education and it should be fine. All the state examinations should be available to them as they progress. Can’t see what all the fuss is about. I would personally be suing the government. Fight for your rights!

    • Coralita October 18, 2016 at 9:17 pm

      You people so ignorant it is beyond me. What is so hard to understand? The Ministry of Education (MOE) allows homeschooling as long as you apply to the ministry for such. They ensure the resources are in place and periodically check to ensure the curriculum in being followed.

      These parents good as they may be, DID NOT apply to the MOE to homeschool, they BROKE THE LAW. They said on social media that the children are being taught Mathematics, English and Religion. That does not constitute the curriculum from the MOE. They started wrong, they will end wrong.

      Tell the parents to do it right, go and apply to the MOE to homeschool their children and have the mechanisms put in place to do such and stop all the stupid emotional uninformed spewings.

      I don’t expect anything better from Hammie Lah because he tries hard to identify with Rastafarianism though I am uncertain as to his success with such. Don’t mind this political grasshopper.

  13. Tony Waterman October 18, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    “On September 24, both parents were found to be in breach of Section 41 Clause (b) of the Education Act, Chapter 41 on the grounds that there was no record of the children – a boy and a girl both under the age of ten – ever attending formal classes.”

    I have always contended that People working in the Barbados come to Work every day to see how the Cannot do things.

    This i am sure could hve been handled quite differently “If’ the persons involved had any forsight, and did not seem to feel that they had ro PUNISH these people.
    Why could they not have sat down with them and their Attorneys, and hammer out a deal to make them step in line with the Laws which the Attorneys know only too well ?? What about the Conflict Resolutiom Touted by the Chief Justice, Sir Marston Gibson, is /was that route not avaible to be taken ?? It is not every Transgression/Action that MUST be met with Equal or Opposite Reaction.
    I hope that this case, however it is resolved , will not allow to fester, and come back again to occupy our precious time. and that it will be solved with the BEST Interest of the Children Involved.
    Not much will be accomplished if they grow up with a HATRED of the System in Them.


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