I NEED AN UPDATE
Rastafarians return to #OccupyPinnacle
Activists fight to keep Jamaica's first Rastafarian village free from development.
Students pose for a photo by a mural of Rastafarian founding father Leonard P. Howell in Tredegar Park, Jamaica below a hilltop known as "Pinnacle", on January 4, 2014. (AP Photo/David McFadden)
Rastafarians in Jamaica have formed a protest campaign to return to Pinnacle, the island's first Rastafarian village. The 'Occupy Pinnacle' movement, which includes Bob Marley's granddaughter Donisha Prendergast and other Rastafarian leaders, is demanding the government return some 473 acres of land.
Recent plans by a developer to build on the hilltop of Pinnacle provoked demonstrations.
SC Zarantonello @decolonizedmind
#OccupyPinnacle is working to stop developers in Jamaica from destroying this site sacred to Rastas #nothingissacred #capitalismdestroys
8:05 AM - 2 Feb 2014
Five Steez @FiveSteez
The Jamaican government is stealing RasTafari indigenous land. Let's put an end to it. #OccupyPinnacle http://fb.me/XfPWXIn5
Rashika Powell ♥; @rashi_belle
Fight against injustice, u might think it doesn't affect you BUT today its pinnacle, tomorrow might be your community. #OccupyPinnacle
6:41 PM - 29 Jan 2014
I'm down with the cause of preserving Rastafari heritage. #occupyPinnacle @Liveat7ja @emilynationwide @TVJGM
The village of Pinnacle was founded in the 1930s by Rastafarian pioneer Leonard P. Howell. At its peak, Pinnacle was home to 4500 settlers before British colonial forces razed the village in 1954.
The ruins of Howell's house were declared a national heritage site but Howell's descendants claim four other plots of land also belong to the Rastafarian community. However, in November, a magistrate found that Pinnacle was owned by the development company. Rastafarians are appealing the magistrate's decision. Online, users shared photos with a saying attributed to Howell.
#occupypinnacle #rastafari #leonardhowell
After three different Rastafarian groups met with government officials last week, the Ministry of Youth and Culture announced the developer would refrain from building on the land for now.
For demonstrators like Prendergast, this is not sufficient. She writes on Facebook:
We have NOT come to any kind of FINAL AGREEMENT with the Government. Yes, there was a meeting yesterday and discussions have begun... Still, we move forward. You can't convince I & I to forget. We look forward to the solidarity on the ground from our International Brothers and Sisters. #wewillnotfight #victoryisassured #letjahwillbedone #carefuldifirehot! Only together. #occupypinnacle #mightcannotdefeatright
Robert Gordon, an Occupy Pinnacle leader, says the community will go to an international court, should Jamaican authorities not fulfill their request.
Critics of the movement paint a different picture of the Rastafarian community's connection to Pinnacle. In a column local historian Louis Moyston disputes the Rastafarians' claim and argues that Howell himself never tried to regain Pinnacle. Moyston writes:
There is no claim that any Rastafari group can make on Pinnacle lands. The negotiation for a national heritage site is accepted in general and no confrontation is required. Those people demonstrating would not be supported by Leonard P Howell.