St Thomas Obeah man Jah Yute says police and attorneys are among his clientele. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)
ONE o beah man in Yallahs, St Thomas, is chiding civil society for what he says is its double standard in dealing with the issue of o beah — a system of spiritual and healing practices developed among enslaved West Africans in the West Indies.
The 59-year-old man, who asked to be identified as Jah Yute, said he has been practising obeah for close to 40 years.
He is also insisting that there is a misunderstanding when it comes to the practice.
Jah Yute, in an interview with the Jamaica Observer North & East last Wednesday, said the Government has failed to punish advertisers of astrology and palm-reading on local television.
“Them have some man who come from foreign deh pon TV [and] inna public a advertise fi them craft and them something deh and them a go through. Wah mek we have fi wi cultural heritage and a go a prison fi it?” he asked.
“Science is like a technology — yuh can use it fi bad and yuh can use it fi good. Right now yuh have [people] inna di church a do bad, a seh them want to change prayer and all them something deh… the world bow down to them, don’t it? Well, this a fi mi heritage,” Jah Yute said.
Justice Minister Delroy Chuck earlier this month announced that the practice could be legalised.
He said the law reform department of the Ministry of Justice has been tasked with putting together a submission for him to take to Cabinet which would outline the reasons the 1898 Obeah Act should be repealed.
Chuck’s announcement has since met resistance from church leaders across the island, with several threatening to fight any legislation legalising obeah.
Jah Yute said those opposed to the repealing of the Act are confused about the significance of the practice.
“Them nuh know the origin of obeah because a Benin (West Africa) it come from. Mi come with one old man; he was a spiritualist. Him heal whole heap a people, mek all blind people see. Him make people weh turn out of hospital by doctor come back, feel back well again, and him do whole heap more things. The only thing inna him dealings them, mi never see him kill nobody,” the man said.
He also shared that he began practising obeah when he turned 25 years old, and has since been able to heal people and clear obstacles which hinder their success.
“Sometime mi have the knowledge fi know seh sometime certain things can be impossible to you and tough inna your way, and mi can make it easier for you. Over the years, being with the old man is how mi gather the knowledge. Him did have me as him right hand so mi study everything weh him do,” said Jah Yute.
“Mi see people come ya sick weh doctor turn out of hospital — the whole of her full of fassy (scabies). Now, inna that case, if is a curse put up on her you haffi know how fi can counteract it. Yeah, you haffi can counteract the spell placed upon them. You haffe get rid of the poison substance inna the body,” the man added.
He said he has also performed rituals, which have allowed him to cast spirits from homes in conflict.
Jah Yute told Observer North & East that since building up his clientele, he has not had to advertise for work.
He said some of his best clients include police officers seeking promotions at work, and attorneys.
“Some of my clients them a poor people, but me deal with a lot of learned people who inna high places inna life. Fighting deh everywhere enuh, all weh yuh deh fighting in deh to. Everywhere you go, fighting deh. When a nuh small a fight, a big a fight. A man come to you fi promotion, police get promotion, teacher want promotion. A man will want favour when him get him chance fi go embassy and them something deh,” he disclosed.
“Evil inna the world fi true, but when you nuh know, you nuh know. Some people deny it, some Christians deny it, but a suh it go fi true.
He said he has been invited overseas, as well, to assist with certain cases, although he is yet to come to a decision on that.