– The action took place in Parliament, where he offered official apologies to the Rastafari community who, prior to the announcement, arrived at that place demonstrating for justice and reparation.
Days to commemorate a new anniversary of the Coral Gardens massacre, the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, apologized to the Rastafarian community for the atrocities committed against members of that resistance movement, a 11 April 1963.
“I am happy that we have finally reached a point where we can discuss concrete and tangible actions that alleviate some of the heavy burdens that survivors and the community have faced.. Today, without equivocation, we apologize for what happened at Coral Gardens. Regret and sadness for this chapter in our national life that was characterized by brutality, injustice and repression. It was a wrong action and should never be repeated”, Holness said at Gordon House.
On the occasion, the head of state announced reparation benefits for the affected community, among which a public defender is established in charge of finding survivors and gathering information on them and their families. A background of 10 millions of Jamaican dollars available to surviving victims and family. He also announced that six lots at the Pinnacle will be declared designated protected heritage sites., which will also include a Rastafarian village.
It should be noted that prior to the announcement issued by Holness, Rastafari community members tried to march in protest against the Jamaican government. Although by means of a document of 13 points recognize this milestone as a step, they rated it as insufficient.
“We are here today to demonstrate for compensation for what the Government did in 1963. We have been meeting with them for several months now, and this Government formed an ad hoc committee of Parliament to meet with me and myself and they met with myself and once “, Dijo Ras Chalwa, member of Rastafari Coral Gardens Benevolent Society, to a local medium, before the apology and who also informed that the community will go to international organizations to receive help.
As published by electronic media in Jamaica, in the document the Rastas request: Free Healthcare and Medicines for Rastafarian Elders; Government assistance to develop a crime scene memorial and Rastafarian museum in the Coral Gardens area of St James. further, they request at least 100 acres of land to be allocated for the use of members of the Rastafarian community in each county and that the Government recognize the right of Rastafari to repatriate to Africa and help facilitate those who wish to do so.
"Bring all the Rastas, dead or alive ", with those words, Prime Minister Bustamante, the head of government in 1963, gave the order to the police force to repress the Rastas, who were massacred, repressed, violated, dead and incarcerated, over a land dispute, and Montego Bay, a good friday ago 54 years ago, reason why this day is known as "Bad Friday".
Learn more about the Coral Gardens massacre in the following documenta (in English):