Buju Banton is expected to return home to Jamaica this Saturday (December 8) after serving a 10-year prison sentence for drug trafficking.
While the Reggae star’s team has been organizing a set of events to celebrate his release, the Government of Jamaica will not be organizing or participating in any of the events to mark Buju Banton’s return.
Minister of Entertainment and Culture, Olivia Grange, revealed that while the Grammy-winning entertainer’s team will be hosting an event to celebrate his return in Jamaica, the government will not be among the organisers.
“The government will not be organizing an event to mark the return of Buju Banton to Jamaica,” Grange told media reporters.
“We are aware that Buju Banton and his management team will be having a concert, and the Ministry of Culture may have a presence, but it is nothing that the government will be actively organising. Buju Banton has done his time. It is not the place of any government to believe in incarceration and not rehabilitation. Buju Banton is rehabilitated and he has the right to come home,” she added.
Grange did not state specifically why the government will not be organizing an event to mark the legend’s return. However, a source claimed that the circumstances behind his homecoming may have been a factor.
“Buju Banton, living legend or not, will return to Jamaica as – that most pejorative of terms – a ‘deportee’; someone who has been returned forcibly to the land of their origin through deportation.,” the source stated.
“It [Reggae and Dancehall] is the number one export in this country. It’s the only thing that we export all year round. The city of London invite me the city of Kingston neva invite me to do a show yet, enuh. They don’t think it’s worth it to say we are going to put in our budget $20 million for Buju Banton and Sizzla to perform,” the “Likes” the “Here Comes Trouble” singer said.
Nevertheless, demand for Buju Banton’s music remains high despite his prolonged absence from the recording studio. A$AP Rocky recently called him “one of my favourite reggae rappers”.
He won the Grammy award in 2011 for his album ‘Before the Dawn’. He was previously nominated in the Best Reggae Album category in 2004, and 2010 for his albums ‘Friends for Life’ and ‘Rasta Got Soul’.
Buju Banton, who is currently on the final lap of his prison sentence, is presently being housed at the McRae Correctional Facility in Georgia and is listed as inmate number 86700-004. He is set to be released this weekend.