|Church of Haile Selassie I gets legal status
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
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GOLDING… legislative establishment will further legitimise the faith and religious
practices of Rastafarians and their families
THE Government has officially recognised the Church of Haile Selassie I as part of the
religious expression of the Rastafarian movement in Jamaica.
This follows the passage of the Church of Haile Selassie I (Incorporation and Vesting)
Act, 2013 in the Senate last Friday, after it was approved by the House of
Representatives on October 8.
Piloting the Bill in the Upper House, Justice Minister, Senator Mark Golding noted that
the legislative establishment of the Church of Haile Selassie I will further legitimise
the faith and religious practices of Rastafarians and their families.
Noting that this signals a historic moment in Jamaica, Senator Golding said he was
particularly pleased that after spending several years before the Private Bill
Committee of Parliament, the legislation "has finally successfully emerged from that
The Bill seeks to make provision for the incorporation of the Church of Haile Selassie
I and to vest certain assets in the church and to allow it to hold property.
Supporting the Bill, Opposition Senator Robert Montague said he was pleased that a
"home-grown" religion has finally received legal status and state recognition in
"The Rastafarian movement has contributed significantly and positively to our
history. There have been incidences in the past that would need, maybe, some
investigation, and lessons can be learned from that... and to encourage the minister to
reach out to the other sector groups so that they too can be legitimate," he said.
Government Senator Lambert Brown also gave his support for the Bill, contending
that it "has been a long road for the Rastafarians" who have been setting positive
examples and have been preaching self-reliance as part of the way forward for the
"I'm happy to associate with all of the progressive and positive contributions that the
Rastafarians (have made to the country). Despite oppression, despite brutality,
despite all the negative things said about them by high society, they have led the way.
I'm very happy that today I can participate where we recognise the religious practices
of a group of Rastafarians. I'm happy that we are recognising them today and
allowing them to be part of the system because they have been positive," he said.
administrative mechanisms to organise and centralise the Rastafarian movement
according to the operational guidelines, which the federation and the movement see
fit; to achieve official recognition for the federation and Rastafarians, leading towards
democratic representation; and to provide cultural and political education for
members of the federation, Rastafarians and for others, who conscientiously wish to
become informed about the movement.
The Church of Haile Selassie I was formed in 1987 by Brother Ammanuel Foxe, a
Rastafarian activist, along with other brethren.