Buju Banton’s guilty verdict … now everyone has sum’n fi seh

So as the reactions continue to come in days after the verdict was given in Buju Banton’s second trial for his narcotics case for cocaine in Tampa Florida, interestingly many of these voices were noticeably missing during the early days of Mr. Myries’ case even during the mistrial of the first instance where there was a hung jury we heard nothing now all of a sudden everybody talking, one wonders if it is to get mileage due to the feeling he Buju was supposedly set up by the gays which is an impossibility in and of itself when the very investigating agency the DEA Drug Enforcement Agency nuh tek talk from others worse yet minority groups such as the lgbt activists. We know that the agency has some Christian conservative leanings so that wouldn’t make it fi gays fi infiltrate.

Here are the two latest additions to the rant as carried by the Jamaica Observer today February 27th. Sizzla and Queen Ifrica, Sizzla of course is no stranger to his own share of problems with the Stop Murder Music Campaigns in Europe, The UK and the USA with his songs attacking homosexuality. Meanwhile Queen Ifrica “fish song” also took a hit at the supposed stigmas and perceptions of gay male life. Check out this post from GLBTQ Jamaica on “Keep it to Yuself Mentality”

Also see: Dancehall Community Mum from Buju’s woes began

Steven Jackson wrote in the Observer:

ON THE BUJU VERDICT – Sizzla, Ifrica comment on the deejay’s incarceration

DEEJAYS Sizzla and Queen Ifrica have expressed divergent views on the guilty verdict of reggae star Buju Banton. Sizzla has called for Banton’s release from ‘Babylon’ whilst Ifrica has warned wayward artistes to take heed.

“Free Buju Banton, burn up di wicked and trod a Mount Zion/ Red yuh nah ready and mi tuff like iron,” sang Sizzla in an adaptation of Trod Mount Zion at the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) Black History concert series on Thursday morning in Kingston.

.Deejays eager for crowd response now toast Banton similar to the Free Jah Cure slogan in the mid-2000s.

“Buju Banton, they just can’t stop you now, even though they set their traps they just can’t stop you now,” was another Sizzla adaptation.

Sizzla referenced Banton five times during his 45-minute set which included 24 songs: Holding Firm, Git it Right Here, Mash Dem Down, Trod Mount Zion, Simplicity, Why Should I, Praise Jah, Guide Over Us, Good Ways, Words of Divine, Woman I Need You, Thank You Mama, Can’t Keep a Good Man Down, Dry Cry, All the Best There Is, Get to the Point, Karate, So Lovely, No Way, Pump Up, Give Me a Try, Be Strong, Black Woman and Child and Take Myself Away.

“If yuh love Buju Banton seh Gargamel,” stated Sizzla whose empathy for Banton runs deep. In 2005, Sizzla was one of 33 persons arrested — but never charged — following a police find of six AK47 rifles, three sniper rifles, one M16 assault rifle, two shot guns, one Intratech 9 submachine gun, 23 AK47 rounds of ammunition, 31 rounds of 9mm rounds, four M16 rounds, two bullet-proof vests, 11 assorted magazines, and a silencer buried in a bag in a chicken coop at Judgment Yard — a Rastafari compound to which Sizzla is affiliated.

Queen Ifrica alluded to Banton in her commentary and the crowd howled at the inference.

“It’s a lesson to us all, look before you leap,” stated Queen Ifrica mid-song she later added: “When you see an artiste behaviour stray, tell them to stop it before it’s too late, if you see them a do wrong, save them from the atrocities.”

Banton was found guilty on three charges by a 12-member panel of jurors at the United States Sam M Gibbons Federal Court in Tampa. The artiste was found guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five or more kilogrammes of cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking offence and using the wires to facilitate a drug-trafficking offence. However, he was found not guilty of attempted possession with intent to distribute cocaine. The artiste hugged his lawyer David Markus when the verdict was read. Many of the artiste’s supporters left the courtroom crying.

On February 13, one day before the start of his second trial, Banton, born Mark Myrie, won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album for the project, Before the Dawn. A US industry accolade for the artiste plagued by cancellations of the tour to support his previous release, Rasta Got Soul. Buju Banton said the win signified that his music was being played and understood by those in the US.

Threat issued to letter writing activist …….

Bad news has once again hit us as one of the more open voices in the national agitation to counter the homonegative and homophobic space that is Jamaica has been hit by an open threat sent to him via email, of course no threat in his case can be taken as a joke and must be treated with all seriousness, Mr. Maurice Tomlinson Atty-at-law based in Western Jamaica and a consultant to AIDSFREEWORLD and a former Board member of a local AIDS organization was sent an email to this effect:

From: sydney dixon <dkjuice40@gmail.com>
To: maurice_tomlinson@yahoo.com
Sent: Fri, February 25, 2011 12:22:16 PM
Subject:

listen battyman we in Jamaica wont endorse r accept you faggots no matter what the fuck u guys try 2 say r do…..get that through ur thick skulls!!!!!!!!!!!!
we have different culture n upbringing fr north americans or whomever else …..you should consider moving sumwhere there……in the meantime shut the fuck up r you will fucking die!!!!!!!!

ENDS

Of course he has by now reported the infraction to Google as this is how Google’s policy on offensive emails outlines:

Harassment from a Gmail user

Gmail’s Terms of Use do state in Section 3 that:

“You shall not, shall not agree to, and shall not authorize or encourage any third party to: (i) use the Service to upload, transmit or otherwise distribute any content that is unlawful, defamatory, harassing, abusive, fraudulent, obscene, contains viruses, or is otherwise objectionable as reasonably determined by Google.”

First, if you feel that you are in danger, we suggest contacting your local authorities. For nuisance emails, we suggest setting up a filter in Gmail to send mail from the sender directly to your trash. If you have a Gmail address, please read How do I set up filters? for instructions.

Because message headers and senders can be spoofed using a variety of means, we’re unable to take action on any user without further verification. In accordance with state and federal law, it is Google’s policy only to provide information about a specific Gmail user pursuant to a valid third party subpoena or other appropriate legal process. You can report a Gmail user who is violating Gmail policies here.

We apologize for any inconvenience, and we’re sorry that you’re receiving such messages.

updated 01/24/2011

ENDS

Mr. Tomlinson at this time of the struggle in Jamaica operates openly using his full name in his letters to both major newspapers and the email apparently is a response to a letter published in the Observer to a recent incident in Montego Bay where police officers raided a club and injured several persons as was carried here on this blog entitled:

Big Blow For Homeless/Displaced MSMs In Western Jamaica …

here is the letter entitled Battle Royal:

Battle royal

Dear Editor,

Reports reaching J-FLAG are that just after midnight on February 20, four police pick-up trucks and a van normally used to transport prisoners swooped down on the only gay club along Montego Bay’s tourist Hip-Strip. About 20 heavily armed officers jumped from the vehicles, kicked in doors, aggressively accosted patrons, indiscriminately beat and pistol-whipped them, and chased everyone from the venue.

During the operation, homophobic slurs were hurled and this seemed to have encouraged patrons of nearby clubs to join in the melee by throwing bottles, stones and other missiles as individuals fled for their lives. One patron described it as a mob scene, and another who asked an officer, “If this is how you as a law enforcement officer treat us, how do you expect other people to behave?” was rewarded with several kicks for his effrontery. He later took refuge for several hours in an abandoned building.
At least ten people are reported to have been treated at hospital for injuries received during the raid while others decided to nurse their wounds at home.

This latest attack follows a similar one in Kingston in early February when police without badges were reported to have raided a gay club in Half-Way-Tree, pointing guns at patrons and shining powerful flashlights in their faces. On neither occasion did officers disclose the purpose of the raids, but they clearly have one intent, namely to intimidate and remind lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) Jamaicans that their kind are not welcome here and they certainly don’t have the right to assemble and socialize peacefully.

Maurice Tomlinson

Montego Bay, St James 

maurice_tomlinson@yahoo.com

ENDS

Speculation is that the letter may have come from elements in the police or even the cops allegedly associated with the party promoter in the story above who are upset that the matter has reached the public domain via this letter and that possible strong disciplinary action is forth coming following the incident in Montego Bay at the lgbt club in question also the coinciding guilty verdict of the Buju Banton trial and the perception that the gay community overseas “set him up” for him to have been found so. Certainly we have to be vigilant be it as it is now as with threats whether through inter community linkages to outsiders or an ignorant homophobic hot heads who feel even more justified in harming GLBTQ people in retaliation for Buju’s problems overseas forgetting or ignoring the fact that he Buju got himself in his own mess by virtue of his own words.

meanwhile here is a short precise letter from the Jamaica Observer speaking to the hypocrisy of it all.
Dear Editor,
I cannot understand why so many people continue to display such blatant hypocrisy in their continued support for Buju. Most of those who support him continue to think that he was set up by certain interest groups. Few consider the possibility that he is actually guilty.
Many say that he was tricked into committing a crime. This is total rubbish. Buju himself admitted that he was stupid for allowing himself to get involved in this drug deal. Too bad for him – that is no excuse for committing a crime. Now he is going to do the time. What’s wrong with that?
Unlike Jamaica, the American justice system, with all of its imperfections, does work. We need to grow up. Justice must be for all, including reggae stars like Buju.

Michael A Dingwall
Kingston
michael_a_dingwall@hotmail.com
ENDS
Also see this post from Gay Jamaica Watch:
Get the full 62 paged document or Buju Banton speaking to the then informant here:http://www.tampabay.com/specials/2010/PDFs/banton.pdf

I will be keeping close tabs on this one and we hope it was just a spoof although we as activists may not agree on the ways forward or have our own strong opinions on issues one thing is clear for all there must be the preservation of life, love and liberty.

My prayers are with you Mr. Tomlinson

Update march 28, 2011

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has granted Precautionary Measures against Jamaica in relation to the death threat I received for reporting on police raids of gay clubs in Jamaica.from the desk of Maurice Tomlinson:

“The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has granted Precautionary Measures against Jamaica in relation to the death threat I received for reporting on police raids of gay clubs in Jamaica.”

Peace and tolerance

H