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VIDEO: Should the Government legalise obeah?

St Mary residents give their opinion on the matter

Monday, June 24, 2019

Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck earlier this month announced that he would be taking a submission to Cabinet which would outline the reasons the 1898 Obeah Act should be repealed.

Chuck's announcement has since met resistance from church leaders across the island, with several threatening to fight any legislation legalising obeah.

The Jamaica Observer North & East visited St Mary last Wednesday to get the views of residents on the matter.

We asked residents: Should the Government legalise obeah?

Obeah is a system of spiritual and healing practices developed among enslaved West Africans in the West Indies.

Here is what they had to say:

 

Dale: Obeah is already legal in Jamaica. They are already practising obeah so what will be the difference? Obeah is [an] African culture and it shouldn't be illegal. Belief kill and belief cure. If yuh believe inna it fine and if yuh nuh believe inna it fine.

 

Ryan: Yeah man it can legal money deh pon it. More time man get bigfoot and a obeah man sort it fi him. But differently, a people culture and why make a culture illegal? Right yah now a suh money mi wah make offa it.

 

Maureen: Within me I believe that obeah is of the devil. If a person sick and they go to [an] obeah man for healing it is wrong. The Bible said if a person is sick take them to the elders of the church and they pray for that person and anoint them with olive oil. It's two powers that rule the earth. One is of the devil and one is of God. So I believe that the obeah is of the devil.

 

Ninja: Yuh know how much people obeah kill off? All when the wicked people them hungry them a go obeah man with them last. Jamaica really gone to the dogs. Jamaica mash up bad, bad. Mi deven like the name obeah and mi live a country. Watch yah nuh, mi never see [an] obeah man prosper from mi born. Mi nuh wah hear nothing 'bout obeah. To how crime step up ina the country yuh nuh supposed to want that. People use it do whole heap of evil. Mi nuh feel seh that should a gwaan.

 

Richard: Obeah nuffi legal because people a go mash up them one another more now than ever if that fi gwaan. If obeah legalise Observer unuh a go come right yah so come report pon body because when the youth them find out seh them parents get obeah a murder enuh. It a go worse than weh we see a gwaan yah so. So that a one next step weh a go make. More death inna the country. Jamaica a go mash up. Jamaica can't manage obeah suh wi nuh want that. Wi a nuh the place them like India. A the Indian people them cause it enuh; a them a advertise pon TV (television).