For transparency and in fairness, I will state that I am a business partner and the co-author of Vybz Kartel’s book – Voice of the Jamaican Ghetto so my bias is unquestionable and duly stated.
However, I write this open letter not in that capacity but in the capacity as a Jamaican born of humble beginnings, exposed to the dangers of inequality and injustice handed out to the children of poor people of Jamaica and as one who still has a profound belief that our island will attain its true glory once it gets rid of the type of politics that your party and the JLP have perpetuated on the suffering people of Jamaica.
Though there are many issues that I would like to address, I write to ask you to give Theresa Wilson Palmer’s son, Adidja Palmer, the right to a fair trial. I have read reports and watched clips on social media where you have repeatedly used Vybz Kartel’s name and music as part of your explanation of your failure to curb crime on the island. Specifically, I have seen where you have used the lyrics of Vybz Kartel’s song “Reparation” in your explanation to foreign government representatives, local stakeholders and members of the Jamaican Diaspora as a key element of your challenge in stopping what is popularly known as “scamming.” I find that statement a bit perplexing since “scamming” has been reported as a problem in Jamaica since 2006, whilst the little known song “Reparation,” only started being played in the public domain in the summer of 2012. I rather to not insult the alma mater that we share by reminding you that art is a reflection of life as I know art is mandatory in the first few years at Campion but I will point out that it is not because Vybz Kartel sang about scamming that started the practice; indeed, it is because scamming is being practiced that the artiste had used his art to reflect an aspect of Jamaican life.
However, I will use this opportunity to address where it is reported that you were overheard passionately telling a journalist that “Vybz Kartel a murdera!” last month at the Signature Grand in Davie, Florida – this you did in the capacity of Minister of National Security in front of a largely Jamaican audience less than a week before Adidja Palmer was scheduled to defend himself in two trials; one where the prosecution states they have no witness to come forward and another where there is an alleged murder without a body.
It is my belief, as well as the belief of those who overheard your statement that you as Peter Bunting have a right to your own opinion as an individual but we think it is not fair that you in the capacity of Minister of National Security utter such words in the public domain about a man who remains 100% innocent until found guilty, not by you but in a Court of Law. I believe that your frequent video clips and disparaging remarks, if continued, are sure to deny Mr. Palmer a fair trial. The police force and other members of law enforcement are accountable to you and I humbly ask that you refrain from such utterings until the trials are over so as to not give the impression to the public at large and your subordinates that the Minister of National Security, has no regard for due process and has convicted the man before the trial gets under way – I hastened to think that is not your intent. However, if you continue, I think it will be very prejudicial to the jury, the case and the public at large and a potential juror may be influenced to convict Adidja Palmer for a song Vybz Kartel did about an aspect of Jamaican life.
Perhaps you may want to comment in your next speech that this man that you are sure is guilty has been incarcerated since September 2011 but cannot get his trial started to either serve his sentence (based on your foregone conclusion) or go home to his family based on his lawyer’s instructions. May I also suggest that you used the words of another song from Vybz Kartel which I think will be more helpful in letting the Diaspora and the world understand the main source of crime and gang violence in Jamaica:
“Anuh my music mash up society, I wasn’t around in 1980… A Election cause it, anuh Dancehall music, and that’s how the public views it…My music is a reflection of the broader society, without a violent society, we would not have violent music…art is an expression of life,,,low the youths…don’t kill them.”
Honourable, Mr. Bunting, please let the Courts decide if “Vybz Kartel a Murdera”