Buju Banton has been granted an exemption to enter Trinidad and Tobago as the Jamaican entertainer’s criminal record does not give him legal access to the country.
Trinidad National Security Minister, Stuart Young, recently told media reporters that he is prepared to give the Dancehall superstar the “go” to visit the twin-island republic where is slated to perform on April 21.
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Buju Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, is scheduled to perform in a concert there on Sunday at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain as part of his “Long Walk To Freedom” tour.
Speaking at a post-Cabinet briefing last Thursday, Stuart Young said that he has informed the concert promoters of the requirement and added that he is prepared to respond favorably. The minister also said he’s prepared to issue the exemption in order for Buju Banton to perform.
“That is squarely on my desk. Buju Banton falls foul of our immigration laws in Trinidad and Tobago. I have asked that it be conveyed to the organisers of the concert that they need to make an application to the minister… I can say at this stage I am prepared to give an exemption,” he said.
The country’s immigration laws bar anyone from entering the country if they have a criminal record.
During a Public Accounts Committee meeting last Wednesday, National Carnival Commission chairman, Wiston Gypsy Peters, revealed that approximately 2,000 foreigners had already purchased tickets for Banton’s concert.
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Buju Banton was held by US Drug Enforcement Administration agents in December 2009 in Miami, Florida, where the US Attorney charged him with conspiracy to distribute and possession of more than five kilograms of cocaine.
On 22 February 2011, he was found guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking offense and using communication wires to facilitate a drug-trafficking offense. He was released from prison on December 7, 2018.
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Buju Banton’s return to Jamaica was greeted with fanfare and his first concert since his release, Long Walk to Freedom, was held in his homeland on March 16.
He is also slated to perform at the Barbados Reggae Festival at Kensington Oval, Barbados on April 27.
Additionally, he is scheduled to appear Suriname on May 4, Grenada on May 11 and the British Virgin Islands on June 15 and this year’s staging of SummerJam Festival in Cologne, Germany on July 16. Meanwhile, he prepared to join a strong line-up including Smokey Robinson, Popcaan, French Montana, and Davido at St Kitts Music Festival, which will take place from June 26 to 30.