Jamaica's Independence In The Film "Coral Gardens"

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After Coral Gardens was produced by Deborah A. Thomas and John L. Jackson in 2011. This documentary speaks about the event that happened immediately after Jamaica gained independence and shed light on the situation at hand. In 1962 when Jamaica gained independence a year or so after the Rastas in the community were under siege. Policemen were sent out to detain all Rastafarians for torturing. They were treated and seen as nothing as their very lives were before their eyes.

The film seeks to confront the shocking level of violence that was unleashed against not only the individuals involved, but also against the entire Rastafarian community of Jamaica. It is acclaimed that the Coral Gardens incident was initiated when a young Rastafarian by the name of Franklin was reported farming illegally. It caused some altercations with a police officer where he was shot several times and was left for dead. He was further taken to the hospital for treatment and upon release when he thought everything was okay he was charged for possession of ganja. All the provocation Franklin experienced caused him to do outrageous acts which led to the Coral Gardens attack.

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In the film Bad Friday, a lot of themes were highlighted such as poverty, racism, prejudice/discrimination, politics and human rights to list a few. One would ask why involve the rest of the Rastafarian community when all weren’t involved? It brings me to the relevance of the theme of discrimination that will be discussed in this critique. According to the Collins Dictionary, discrimination is defined as the practice of treating one person or group of people less fairly or less well than other people or groups. When the incident happened with Frankiln, members of the community started to speak out about and the injustice that was distributed.

The governing board at the time was not satisfied and gave out instructions to bring in all that fit the criteria dead or alive. In this time they were labelled as the “bearded men.” Truth of the matter is there was never any good labels for Rastafarians. They were always discriminated and scorned because of how they attired themselves back in the days and the odour they gave off. It is safe to say they were not liked, therefore, having no purpose. If that was the case the instruction given out by the Prime Minister at the time would have been deemed well in his eyes because it wouldn’t be a loss and human rights would not have been defied because the instructions given out was an indication to say the Rastafarians were never liked.

So, because of this documentary, it is then safe to say that what happened at Coral Gardens could be a factor as to why Rastas are hated and discriminated up to this day age. They have become victims of what they stood and fought for. It is really sad to see how fellow Jamaicans were treated by their very own government and security forces in times past. Now I truly understand why Rastafarians despise police officers so much. They were not only discriminated but their lives was taken away from them.

The inequality towards Rastas is still being practiced even in modern Jamaica, just not as gruesome as it was. I believe it needs to stop. I have no evidence of recompense given to those who survived the incident, but I do believe the government needs to show some remorse in the form of a memorial monument to remember those who died as a result of what was an unfortunate yet cruel incident. The ongoing discrimination in the Caribbean community is still distasteful. If you are not likened to a particular status you are treated less that societal standards. You are not given certain privileges if you don’t meet certain standards and you might as well be labelled as a criminal trafficking illegal drugs. So in fact, discrimination is an arising matter that has be embedded in the Caribbean and until individuals understand equality as treating individuals how you want to be treated then the problem where discrimination is concerned will continue.

In conclusion, because discrimination is still present in today’s society no effort has been made to recompense the Rastafarian community or to even treat them any better. They are still labelled negatively and have to fight to have a say in today’s society. Discrimination is wrong and no one’s life should be placed at risk because of it.


  1. "Discrimination Definition and Meaning | Collins English Dictionary." Take Heed/pay Heed
  2. Definition and Meaning | Collins English Dictionary. Accessed October 04, 2018. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/discrimination.
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