October 3, 1999
British Virgin Islands repeals order banning Rastafarians, hippies

                  CHARLOTTE AMALIE, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) -- Lawmakers in the
                  British Virgin Islands have repealed a longstanding immigration order that
                  bans "hippies" and Rastafarians from entering the islands, an official said

                  Orlando Smith said the bill he introduced Friday passed by a 7-4 vote, with
                  two legislators absent.

                  "It's an embarrassment to this country," Smith said of the 1980 order.
                  Legislators still have to fine tune some minor details in repealing the order,
                  and it is not clear when it will expire, he said.

                  The law was introduced by Chief Minister Ralph O'Neal, who oversees the
                  Immigration Department, The Virgin Islands Daily News reported Friday.
                  O'Neal was quoted as saying in the newspaper he believed the law was
                  needed because visiting "hippies" and Rastafarians would steal fruit and
                  engage in sexual acts in public.

                  Smith, elected to the Legislative Council in May, said he thought that the
                  order was introduced after there was an increased incidence of anti-social
                  behavior "created by persons in this category."

                  The Grand Court of the Cayman Islands, a British territory, ruled Friday that
                  an 8-year-old Rastafarian boy would have to cut off his dreadlocks to return
                  to school in the autumn.

                  Many followers of Rastafarianism do not cut their hair, letting it form into
                  "dreadlocks" that have become a symbol of the movement.

                  The Caymanian court did, however, recognize Rastafarianism as a legitimate
                  religion, noting it offers a "redemptive ethic" of good deeds and a savior.
                  Followers of Rastafarianism, which has its roots in nearby Jamaica, worship
                  former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie, who died in 1975.

                    Copyright 1999 The Associated Press