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Barbados: What happened to I'Akobi Tacuma Maloney?

I\'Akobi Tacuma Maloney I'Akobi Tacuma Maloney, by any standard, was a high achiever . The 23-year-old, a devout Rastafari, was a recent graduate of the University of the West Indies, with a degree in engineering. Before that, he was valedictorian at his high school, where his classmates voted him "most likely to succeed." He won a scholarship from the Barbados government that paid for his university education, and he was chosen by the Barbados Ministry of Social Transformation as a youth delegate at the 5th Ministerial Meeting on Children and Social Policy in the Americas. He had a black belt in martial arts and was an accomplished public speaker. He had just joined the Barbados Association of Professional Engineers, and was a summer intern at a cement factory. He seemed to be on a clear path to success.

On 17 June, 2008, everything changed. In circumstances that have not yet been fully explained, Maloney died in an encounter with the Barbados police. According to a police statement , at 5.30 that afternoon officers responded to a report of a "drug landing" at Cove Bay , near the northern tip of the island of Barbados. There they saw Maloney wandering near the top of a steep cliff overlooking the sea. They approached and interviewed him.

"Initial investigations reveal that Maloney suddenly ran and jumped off a cliff, landing on a ledge below. Shortly after this he was washed off this ledge by the pounding waves, which took him out into the sea," public relations officer inspector Barry Hunte said.

Later, the assistant commissioner of police suggested that Maloney was "depressed" at the time of the incident:

According to the crime chief, police also discovered a note entered in his personal diary which suggested he could have been contemplating suicide.

But Maloney's family was immediately suspicious of this version of events. His mother pointed out that the police claimed Maloney landed face down on rocks at the foot of the cliff, yet there was a prominent wound at the back of his head. Further, Maloney was reported to have jumped with his haversack on his back, and his body was in the sea for eight hours before it was retrieved — yet when the haversack was returned to his mother, there was no sign of water damage to its contents.

Within two days of the incident, the Ichirouganaim Council for the Advancement of Rastafari (ICAR) , a Barbadian Rastafari advocacy group, had set up a blog, AfriKa CRY BLOOD , to "promote, protect and defend the Ras Tacuma case." ICAR began collecting evidence of possible foul play, disputed police allegations of Maloney's involvement in drug smuggling, and made an urgent call for a full investigation of his death. The blog documented a protest held in Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados, as well as questions raised by members of the Barbados parliament.

The police responded that an investigation was under way , but some Barbados bloggers were unconvinced. "There will be no public inquest into his death," said Barbados Free Press .

There will be no public process to examine the circumstances of how he died while “in the company of” Barbados police. Eventually, the local news media will quietly let the story fade into the past, and people will say “Well, there was some sort of inquiry and it showed…” BUT THAT WILL BE A LIE.

BFP went on to remind its readers of a previous case in which a young man mysteriously died after an encounter with police. Meanwhile, Barbados Underground posted the full text of a statement by the People's Democratic Congress, a political party.

… we in PDC ask that NOT ONLY must there be a Coroner’s Inquest into the circumstances of this death as soon as possible , BUT that ALSO the Attorney General allow his department to carry out their own fair and impartial investigations into this grievous affair.

"This case frightens me," wrote Caribbean Lionesse :

I'Akobi was just like me. Young, intellectual, UWI graduate, ambitious, good job and with locks. You want to think that our society has advanced to such a point that all your other accomplishments mean something….

She linked to a thread at the Rastafari Speaks forum, in which Sis Ali suggested Maloney was the victim of police profiling: "someone saw Rasta up there and called the police."

With Maloney's family and the Barbadian Rastafari community still waiting for answers, ICAR has organised another protest march on Friday 1 August — the day when the end of slavery is commemorated across the Anglophone Caribbean — and launched an online petition calling for justice.

  • Tanya

    The police are investigating the police will the truth be told. I doubt it that’s just the way it is. I for one DO NOT believe that I’Akobi jumped to his death.

  • nanci

    the police immediately pass judgment on the young man, police should not be recruited unless they learn customer service, and how to be personable to the public.Sometimes simple things goes on in the neighborhood and they way how some of them approach persons from the public is outrageous, they should carry badges with their names on them, and reported to their supervisor when they mess up or fail to carry out their duties in a professional way.All members of the police force should not carry guns, because they want to shoot people too quick, and they get off with it thats why it keeps happening.

  • kara

    I’ve known I’akobi since 1998 (Foundation daze), and i will tell u right now i will never ever believe I’akobi committed suicide. He had to0 much to live for and he was an over achiever striving for even better. He was one of the smartest people i knew and i miss him dearly and i cant wait until the truth is heard. R.I.P Bro. I Miss u.

  • Jason Holder

    I knew Iakobi, and in my years of knowing him the one thing he was not is suicidal. They could have said he was over confident, passionate about life, fair, unable to hold back the truth in his feelings, sharing, tolerant, non violent, even centered, but not suicidal.
    Some may have said he was over confident since he approached and accomplished things in an impressively calm manner. I say he was passionate about life due to him being content in his life and not being consumed by an eyeful materials nor women. He was fair for letting a friend know sternly when that friend was unfair which also contributes to him not being able to hold back the truth. He was sharing for breaking me and others a half of his sandwich even when he thought we would not like it due to our tongues being so fashioned after the taste of meat. He was tolerant because he took a lot of shit from some by letting them pass their ignorant and bias remarks. Non violent since he would walk away to clear his head, even cry if he had too to prevent a physical conflict. Still he was fierce, an attribute of his passion. All of the above kept him centered.

    So tell me anything else but suicidal. Him also being as thoughtful as he was lets me KNOW that he would have surely thought of how much an act like that would have hurt his mother.

    Real Rasta as he was could nevah be involved in suicide…too much truth for that.

  • Makiala Iyoka Nyabinghi

    Only those who dont overstand Rastafari woul say Rasta commit suicide, those who say Rasta do things not of our way of life proof that what they say is sheer popaganda anl lies like the host of lies they tell on HIM but we who know HIM dont believe they stories because we know what RastafarI deal with LIFE.

  • http://www.instrumentuniverse.com/guitars Terry Weadock

    After reading these comments, it sure appears something is fishy in his death.

    My sincere condolences to the his family and friends.

    taw

  • Pingback: Global Voices Online » Barbados: Questions about Maloney inquest verdict

  • Pingback: Global Voices in het Nederlands » Barbados: Vragen omtrent vonnis in zaak Maloney

  • Makiala

    On the top of MOUNT HILLABY THE FINAL TABANACLE OF THE MOST HIGH SHALL ENDURE — as the storm approached Barbados I dared fear to go out for a walk in the storm, as I approached the hill I looked, I saw up on the top of MOUNT HILLABY I SAW AN ILLUMINATION OF LIGHT CLOUD of PURPLE, BLUE, CRIMSON, CLOUD WHITE ALL COMBINED IN A CLOUD IN THE SHAPE OF A MIGHTY ARCHED DOOR THE MOST GLORIOUS SIGHT I EVER BEHELD, I HEARD A STATIC OF ELECTRICTRY AS IT APPEARED ONLY FOR A SPLIT SECOND THAT COSMIC MYSTIC MY EYES BEHELD COMFIRMING THAT ON THE TOP OF MOUNT HILLABY SHALL THE GATHERING BE FOR FOURTEEN LIGHTS FROM DEC 14TH TO DEC 28 2012
    all who cah hear just got fa feel (re 14 lights)
    as the strorm was about to hit Barbados it turned and went the other way that was the time that was the one

    IjahdutiI Iyoka Nehanda Makiala Yola Rastafari SelasseI

  • Makiala

    Do we have any Rasses or freinds of Rasta who are into the web and can set up a forum for us to share revelations visions and inine guidance that may benefit the whole and give direction in these final times, if so come forward , how about CRO communication network blog , a central communication point may do wonders in these times, no only for a readedy but on going. I dont know how to do it I am just not into technolgy to that level.

    • Siri

      I think the best way would be to set up a facebook page! Easy and free!
      Blessings

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