Posts tagged ‘Jamaica Observer’

February 24, 2011

On the Buju Banton verdict

I was aware of the conviction of Buju Banton shortly after it happened, but given my feelings on that particular individual I decided to give it 24 hours. I gather that bloggers around the region have been lamenting the verdict with various reasons ranging from him being framed to some nebulous conspiracy that involves him being Caribbean  and the ever popular gay agenda. Global Voices Online is even reporting that Jamaica is in mourning.

The fact is there is video of  Buju Banton chatting with federal agents and tasting the cocaine ( presumably that requires some experience) and he is now convicted.  What is the problem?  It seems that Caribbean people expect to have a different standard of justice and/or they are too stupid to recognize that their idols have clay feet. Now to the gay agenda conspiracy. Mark Anthony Myrie ( his real name) is probably most famous for his song  “Boom Bye Bye”  that celebrated the killing of gay people.  Under the threat of boycotts and several cancellations Myrie claimed he would change his ways but he subsequently reversed that decision.  The lyrics of the song are in Jamaican English but here are a few of them with a translation by :

Boom bye bye
[Boom (as in gun sound) goodbye, goodbye]
(as in we won’t be seeing you again, you’re dead)

Inna batty bwoy head
[In a queer’s head]

Rude bwoy no promote no nasty man
[Rude boys don’t promote no queer men]
(Rude boys: dancehall singers)

Dem haffi dead
[They have to die]

Send fi di matic an
[Send for the automatic [gun] and]

Di Uzi instead
[The Uzi instead]

Shoot dem no come if we shot dem
[Shoot them, don’t come if we shoot them]
(as in don’t come to help them)

Guy come near we
[If a man comes near me]

Then his skin must peel
[Then his skin must peel] (as in pour acid over him)

Burn him up bad like an old tire wheel
[Burn him up badly, like you would burn an old tire wheel]

I am not sure how that can be interpreted as anything other than inciting killing but it seems that doesn’t concern regional bloggers. He has other songs, of course, but I am sure that even the KKK has statements that concern things other than lynching black people.

So here is my brief measured statement with simultaneous translation of real feelings.:

Buju is a major figure in Caribbean culture but his achievements should not be viewed in isolation.

TRANSLATION: He is a dangerous person who hates gay people and putting lipstick on a pig doesn’t make it fine.

While his conviction on federal drug dealing charges is the verdict of the US courts there is a strong view among people in the wider Caribbean that all is not as it seems.

TRANSLATION:  Many people in the Caribbean are shocked that he isn’t treated as a saint  because he is from  Jamaica and the legacy of colonialism should excuse him from drug crimes. Never mind he wants gay people dead – he is Jamaican!

It is unfortunate that he finds himself in this situation but given the sensitivity of Caribbean culture it is to be hoped that this is considered in his sentencing.

TRANSLATION: He tried to deal drugs, he is beyond contempt and I truly hope the reprehensible slime rots in jail.

In conclusion, I can only quote a female friend from Trinidad whose Facebook status said : “boom bye bye homophobe.”

Read the conviction story on CBC News here.

If you want real Caribbean culture try these on for size.

November 15, 2010

A Jamaican surprise…

The Jamaica Observer  has published a column by Sir. Ronald Sanders calling for an end to discrimination in the Caribbean against blacks and gays. The first one is a no-brainer but in the Caribbean , and especially in Jamaica which Time Magazine described in 2006 as The Most Homophobic Place on Earth, even having the column published is astounding. I am not sure if it being published is a sign that Jamaican society is becoming less bigoted or if it is simply a sign that the writer and the paper are fearlessly showing what a free press is all about. Looking over some of the comments on the article and perusing a few dancehall lyrics I suspect the answer is the latter.

Sir Ronald Sanders is a former Caribbean diplomat.

“MICHAEL Kirby, a former Justice of the High Court of Australia, drew a recent report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to my attention.

It confirms what Caribbean countries had always heard about the way people of African descent are treated in some Latin American and Caribbean countries, and it also highlights the legal intolerance and criminalisation of homosexuals and lesbians in the countries of the English-speaking Caribbean because of their sexual preferences.


According to the report, during its 140th period of sessions from October 20 to November 5, 2010, the commission held 52 hearings and 28 working meetings and concluded that “structural human rights problems still persist in the region”. These include the situation involving people of African descent, women, persons deprived of liberty, and the “gay” community.”

Read the rest in the Observer here.