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Minister Confirms ‘Buju Banton’ Can Perform - Bernews

Minister of National Security Wayne Michael Caines has confirmed that permission has been granted for Mark ‘Buju Banton’ Myrie to visit and perform in Bermuda.

Minister of National Security Wayne Michael Caines Statement

A Government spokesperson said, “The Minister of National Security the Hon. Wayne Michael Caines, JP, MP, has announced that he has used his sole discretion and authority as the Minster responsible for Immigration to grant approval for the musical artist, Mark Anthony Myrie popularly known as Buju Banton, to visit and perform in Bermuda.

“Notwithstanding Mr. Myrie’s incarceration, Minister Caines said he is also keenly aware of the sensitivities regarding some of Mr. Myrie’s music from decades ago. However his most controversial songs, including “Boom Bye Bye”, have been removed from his catalogue of music and will not be performed going forward.”

“Minister Caines believes that the social positives of Mr. Myrie’s upcoming visit outweigh the negatives.”

Minister Caines said, “As the Minister of National Security, which includes responsibility for Police, Customs, Corrections, Fire and Immigration, I am keenly aware of the challenges that result from the misuse of drugs. As it relates to Mr. Myrie’s particular situation he has served his mandated period of incarceration, and has publicly said that he wishes to use his personal experience of incarceration as a way to uplift, motivate and help others. In fact, in March this year he stated: ‘I only want to be associated with my craft. Having survived, I want to share the good news and strength of my music. I just want to continue making music, which I’ve devoted my life to. I look forward to the opportunity to say a personal thanks to my fans and everyone who supported me.’

“Our Ministry supports any type of personal, rehabilitation, redemption and social commitment, particularly as we ourselves engage with at risk young people on a regular basis.”

“Minister Caines understands that since December 2018, Mr. Myrie has been granted permission to enter and perform in Trinidad, Grenada, Guyana, the British Virgin Islands, St. Kitts, Amsterdam, Belgium, Bahamas, Surinam, France and Germany.”

Minister Caines concluded, “Due to Mr. Myrie’s conviction and imprisonment in excess of two years, he must receive permission from the minister responsible for immigration to be allowed to perform in Bermuda. Ultimately, we believe that if given the opportunity to perform in Bermuda, Mr. Myrie’s performance will have an exceedingly positive effect on our community. One only needs to look at the successful Long Walk to Freedom Concert in Jamaica where he performed in front of 30,000 people at the Jamaica National Stadium. Through his music, he used that occasion to share a socially responsible message, a message of cultural relevance and a message that sought to uplift and unite the people. I believe that Buju Banton is a musical, social and cultural icon whose message of unity, redemption and love make his immigration circumstances rare and exceptional.” “I have reviewed all aspects of the matter and as a result of the special circumstances articulated above, I have granted Mr. Mark ‘Buju Banton’ Myrie permission to enter Bermuda. In the words of the late Dennis Brown, ‘Love and hate can never be friends’.”

MHB Consultants Statement

A spokesperson said, “Buju Banton, the man, the myth, the legend will be in Bermuda on August 17, 2019. He will perform at the National Stadium and the organizers of the event, dubbed ‘Unity Festival Bermuda,’ are preparing for an unprecedented gathering for a concert event in Bermuda. Securing this event for Bermuda has sent shockwaves throughout the local community as well as put Buju’s millions of fans living on the Eastern seaboard of the United States on notice. Tickets for this event will go on sale via www.ptix.bm on June 1, 2019, and the organizers anticipate a strong response.

“Mr. Mark Myrie, better known as Buju Banton, is a legend in the Caribbean. He is a figure whose influence on Reggae music and culture has seen him draw comparisons to the iconic Bob Marley. Recently, Mark Myrie has completed a seven year sentence at a federal prison in Georgia, USA. The excitement surrounding his release was tangible throughout the Caribbean, with fans simply ravenous to see Buju Banton perform again. His first stop on the universally acclaimed ‘Long Road to Freedom’ tour was the National Stadium in Jamaica, where an estimated 40,000 fans gathered to see him for the first time in almost a decade. This was a decidedly auspicious start to Mr. Myrie’s effort to rebuild his career, his life, and his legacy. It’s been a long, hard road for Buju; a journey he defined perfectly when he gave the world the marvelous ‘It’s Not an Easy Road’ off the simply classic ‘Til Shiloh’ album.

“Buju Banton has performed in Bermuda several times in the past, with protests and backlash coming from the local LGBTQ community in the 90s when one of his 1992 hits raised concerns about its chorus, which took hyperbole to an unacceptable level in its treatment of homosexual men. Since his release from prison, however, Mr. Myrie has removed the controversial song from his catalogue, taken it off of all digital streaming services he could control, and vowed to never perform the piece again.

“The organizers of Unity Festival Bermuda are presenting this event as an opportunity for all of Bermuda’s estranged communities to put down their articles of discord and come together in peace, love, and unity. We are calling for island wide harmony for this event, and we hope that our patrons come in the spirit of inclusion and love that Buju has made his new mantra. Violence, hatred, vengeance, and trauma have thrived in our small island for far too long; it’s time to close the wounds of the past and allow healing to happen.

“With this in mind, the organizers of Unity Festival Bermuda have opened a dialogue with OUTBermuda in hopes that redemption for the trespasses of the past is possible within these shores. The dialogue will be ongoing and positive in essence.

“Bermuda has always enjoyed a forgiving culture. Life is a long journey with many pitfalls along the way. Mr. Myrie has lived his pitfalls in as public a way as possible. He has been persecuted and punished for his mistakes. Now he is making an attempt to bless the world with his gift once again. We should all embrace this most human of acts.”

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