From the Courts
July 30, 2004
Nyahbinghi High Priest fined

An Elder of the local Nyahbinghi Church has until August 24 to pay $1,500. The fine was imposed at the Number one Kingstown Magistrate Court.
Police arrested Roy Ferdinand of Frenches last Saturday, charging him with possessing just over two pounds of marijuana with intent to supply. {{more}} When he appeared before the court on Monday he pleaded guilty.
Police told the court that at about 7:25 p.m. last Saturday, officers from the Narcotics Division were on mobile patrol about Georgetown when Ferdinand was seen at the side of the public road. The driver stopped the transport and officers alighted and approached him, and identified themselves. When a search was conducted on a backpack he had on his shoulder, a black plastic bag with 992 grammes of marijuana was found inside.
Police said when Ferdinand was cautioned, he said, “I am a Nyahbinghi High Priest. I have the herb to use as a sacrament.”
Prominent lawyer Joseph Delves told the court that Ferdinand was one of several Elders of the Nyahbinghi Church which is located at Calliaqua and which was established by an Act of Parliament.
Delves, himself carrying dreadlocks, told the court that the brethren were engaged in seven days of celebration commemorating the birth of Haile Selassie and he asked the Senior Magistrate to impose “a small fine” on Ferdinand because the fine has to be paid by the Church. He contended that Ferdinand was “unknown to the law” and that he did not give the police any trouble when he was arrested.
Ferdinand was warned that if he failed to pay the fine as ordered, he could go to prison for six months.