H.I.M. Haile Selassie’s Visit to Jamaica

H.I.M. Haile Selassie I’s visit to Jamaica was the 2nd stop in a trip to the Caribbean, on a three-nation tour of Trinidad-Tobago, Jamaica and Haiti. In the summer of 1965, Dr. Eric Williams, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago visited Ethiopia. Dr. Williams invited H.I.M. Haile Selassie I to visit Trinidad, which he did on April l8, 1966 and was greeted by thousands of people lined along the airport route. His tour of this nation included a visit to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Trinidad, The House of Parliament and functions arranged by the Prime Minister, he and his official party. He also visited Tobago and then left for Jamaica enroute to Barbados

H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie arrived in Jamaica on April 21, 1966. On arrival at the Norman Manley Airport, he exited the plane but then retreated when he saw the marijuana smoke filled air with thousands of Rastafarian chanting Jah Rastafari. Some were carrying signs such as “Selassie is Christ”, “King of Kings” and “God Anointed”. He refused to leave the plane until his security was assured. He eventually exited and with heavy security was quickly hurried into a waiting car and rushed to a reception arranged by Prime Minister Sir Alexander Bustamante. During his visit he met with Prime Minister Sir Alexander Bustamante who was 82 at the time and was going blind due to cataracts. He also visited the University of the West Indies where he was awarded a honorary degree. He also addressed the Jamaican Parliament.