MONTEGO BAY, St James — Prominent Rastafarian and businessman Ras Iyah V has blasted the Jamaican Government for declaring a 12-day period of mourning to mark the death of Queen Elizabeth II of England.
The Government on Thursday announced that, with immediate effect, all flags on public buildings should be flown at half mast to mark the commencement of a period of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II from September 8 to September 19. A day of mourning will be observed on September 18.
"During the period of mourning it is the customary recommendation that no celebratory activities should take place. On the day of mourning the public should note that only authorised activities related to the day are approved and that all social events should be postponed," the Government said.
But Ras Iyah V, who is a former chair of the Nyabinghi Administrative Council as well as former chair of the Rastafari Coral Gardens Benevolent Society, is questioning why a 12-day period of mourning is necessary for the late queen, whom he said is a reminder of British exploitation of African descendants.
"My questions will continue to be 'What has the British monarchy done differently from enslaving, colonising and exploiting our people and the resources of this land? Why should we be mourning for the death of Queen Elizabeth II, and going into 12 days of mourning at that? Why should we be mourning in any way whatsoever?' " he asked. "I am not in support of that mourning."
Elizabeth's eldest son, Charles, 73, formerly the Prince of Wales, has not only become the king of England and will automatically assume the post of head of State of Jamaica.
But Ras Iyah V argues that The Queen's death should be an opportune time to sever ties with the British monarch as Jamaica's head of State.
"Now that she has died and formally we had her as the head of State, now is the ideal time because they say that Prince Charles has been elevated to the throne. The inauguration, I know, hasn't taken place yet, but this is the ideal time to say that 'Enough is enough.' That is exactly what I would have expected — that we won't be having the British monarchy as head of State, we won't be having a governor general here to continue to represent British imperialism inside of Jamaica," he argued.
He stated that Jamaica should have taken the lead in the region to replace the British monarchy.
"Jamaica as a country should be setting the example to our Caribbean brothers and sisters in terms of where we go as a region. And yet what are you saying to our brothers and sisters within the region and to the world? That we miss Queen Elizabeth so much? What has the British Government and the British monarch done for Jamaica over these years that we should be going into mourning?" he questioned.
"Countries all over the world that have Elizabeth as their head of State are moving towards getting rid of them. Guyana did that, Trinidad did that, little Barbados did that. Will Barbados be in mourning? Will Trinidad and other countries be in mourning?"
A senior official of the Emancipation Support Committee of Trinidad and Tobago (ESCTT), Friday said he had no tears to shed over the passing of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, saying she was a symbol of oppression and tyranny.
"The Queen is a major symbol — especially for the British part of the colonisers — so, to me, what The Queen was is the symbol of the oppression that we have gone through as supposedly subjects of the British, which ended officially when Independence was declared in 1962," said Khafra Kambon, director of regional and Pan-African affairs for the Emancipation Support Committee.