October 3, 2013
I would first like to extend my greetings and wish you and the rest of the
St Catherine Parish Council family a Happy New Year.
Regarding the recent office visit of one of our directors, accompanied by
two trustees of The Ethiopian Salvation Society, this letter serves as an
overview of the current status of Pinnacle and our request that you halt the
redevelopment of lands connected to the Pinnacle estate and burial site of
Mrs. Tenneth Bent Howell.
Pinnacle’s lot 199, has been declared National Heritage as of
September 12, 2013, and is now protected under the Jamaica National
Heritage Trust (“JNHT”) Act. Having a single lot of Pinnacle named as a
JNHT site took six years, and was a tedious process fraught with various
roadblocks. However, we cannot celebrate yet because Pinnacle is still at
risk. Currently, the surrounding area is being disturbed and reconstructed.
These acts are tantamount to the continued cultural genocide of the
Rastafari Movement both locally and global.
We are aware that the St Catherine Parish Council granted permission for
the St Jago Hills/Island Homes Developer to subdivide, however, we are
greatly concerned with the recent development and excavation methods
employed. We have witnessed the dynamite and excavation of Gungo
Walk Communal burial space where hundreds of Rastafari were laid to rest
for over 19 years, the sale of the plot at the top of Pinnacle which contain
the remains of Mrs. Tenneth Bent Howell since 1944, and the clearing of
the Howellites from the foothills of Pinnacle to construct a highway.
Moreover, the public health protocols for handing the remains of those
departed have not been adhered to. Recently, a person that purchased the
lot with Mrs. Howell’s remains, cleared and burnt the area in preparation
for building their home. The Howell family had not been notified of these
actions nor did the court grant permission for such action.
We ask that you halt the redevelopment of the Pinnacle estate. First, the
legal case concerning ownership of the Pinnacle estate is still ongoing, as
the Spanish Town civil court has yet to render a decision. Secondly, it has
not been made explicitly clear to us that proper authorization existed for
St Jago Hills Developers/Island Homes to subdivide Pinnacle. As was
previously mentioned by one of our directors, the land records reflect that
Pinnacle was not owned by St Jago Hills nor the government of Jamaica
but was purchased by Leonard Percival Howell and Mrs Tenneth Bent
Howell in the name of The Ethiopian Salvation Society.
Given the above mentioned, and in light of the reparations claim from
Jamaica to the United Kingdom, we wish to resolve these issues as quickly
as possible. We ask that you halt any further development and excavation
of Pinnacle and remain cognizant that under our watch, tomorrow’s history
of Pinnacle and Rastafari is being constructed. We seek your
understanding and recognition of the fact that what has been allowed to
happen to Pinnacle and Rastafari is tantamount to cultural genocide.
We thank you in advance for your cooperation in these grave matters.
REPOSTED IN LIGHT OF THE CURRENT DESECRATION OF GRAVE SITES AT PINNACLE