Kingston, 13 May 2020 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has written to the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Honourable Christopher Tufton, requesting an investigation into allegations that the beard of a Rastafarian Elder was cut at a public hospital.
“It has come to my attention, that the beard of Ras Irie Lion, a Nyabinghi Elder, was cut without his consent while he was a patient at the Linstead Public Hospital. This allegation is deeply troubling and I’ve asked Minister Tufton to ascertain the circumstances surrounding this incident as it is not the policy of the Government to cut the hair of members of the Rastafari faith who seek medical attention at public facilities.
I also extend best wishes to Ras Irie Lion for a speedy recovery. I assure him that I am doing everything I can to expeditiously determine what occurred, and to assist in bringing the matter to resolution.
My Government has acknowledged the historic discrimination and injustice that Rastafarians have suffered in our country and has taken unprecedented action towards reconciling and resetting the relationship with our Rastafari brothers and sisters. This allegation goes against the new relationship that we are building.
While I await the report of the Ministry of Health and Wellness, I have directed that the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport continues to provide support to Ras Irie Lion through the Cultural Liaison for Rastafari Affairs.”