Columns

The rise of these newcomer 'healers' and 'problem-solvers'

Linton
Gordon

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

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The Obeah Act must go. This Act was passed in 1898 and is aimed at protecting us from people who frequently use whatever means or instrument to frighten us or to give the impression that they possess supernatural powers and/or knowledge.

This Act provides serious punishment for the practice of obeah. Such punishment includes imprisonment at hard labour for 12 months and/or whipping, which is no longer applicable because of other legislative provision.

In recent times our television screens have been flooded with people advertising competence in all sorts of activities which must be seen as a form of obeah. These advertisements are promoting “healers” and “problem-solvers”.

There is a television advertisement by Master Raju, and in it he declares that he can give you immediate solution to husband/wife problems, love, health, sexual problems, enemies, career, children, special problems, protection, and much more. This is a clear expression of supernatural power, which Master Raju is indicating that he has.

There is also one from Master Sri Ram. He invites customers to come to him to get solution for financial issues; bad luck; protection; love, job and marriage problems; childlessness; or dealing with education, promotion, addiction, depression, sickness, family, sexual problems, and more.

There has also been an advertisement from “India Physic Healer” who informs of “consultancy only by appointments”. This advertisement speaks of his ability of predicting your past, present and future, name and date of birth reading and neurology.

All these newcomers to the scene are expressing an ability to outperform our obeah men. The uncle of National Security Minister Robert “Bobby” Montague must come forward now and protest that foreigners are coming here and are being allowed to advertise their ability to outperform him while he has to be hiding while carrying out his practice.

Our obeah men and obeah women are forced by the Obeah Act to carry out their activities clandestinely. The last time we had an obeah man upfront was the late Dr Hines, who practised along the Mount Rosser Main Road in St Catherine. He had the sign “Dr Hines” placed on his premises, and there are stories of what uses he made of animals as part of his acts.

Now that foreigners are advertising their supernatural abilities on television and are therefore now in the open, Minister Montague should move a resolution in the House of Representatives for the repeal of the Obeah Act and/or for a licensing regime where those who are indulging in the offer of supernatural power should be licensed and should be compelled to come out in the open so that they stand the scrutiny of well-thinking citizens.

All the advertisements seen on television and in the newspapers give no address for the newcomers. All they give is a telephone number. The closest seen to an address being given is that of India Physic Healer, who gives a telephone number and his location as “two minutes' walk from Half-Way-Tree, Kingston 10.

Our obeah men and obeah women remain in the background but always take credit for their clients' success. Attorneys are at times surprised to learn that credit for winning a case is not given to them for their hard work and detailed preparation. Instead, there is celebration, eating and drinking in the community, and the obeah man is lifted shoulder high for winning the case in court. There are times, too, when the client being represented in court pays the obeah man more than he pays the attorney representing him in court.

If foreigners are now investing in obeah working we need to free up our obeah men, and hopefully they will become so capable, so well-recognised, that they will reach the stage where they can practise abroad and bring back badly needed foreign exchange.

Linton P Gordon is an atttorney-at-law. Send comments to the Observer or lpgordon@cwjamaica.com.

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