Entertainment

Trials of a Gaza king

By Simone Morgan Observer staff reporter morgans@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, September 14, 2012    

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DESPITE being behind bars for almost one year, controversial deejay Vybz Kartel remains a hot topic. But even though he faces a lengthy prison term, his lawyer says he is in high spirits.

"We are in the process of preparing his defence team and he is very much involved in the preparation. He is very confident that he will beat this case based on the work that his legal team has been putting in," attorney Christian Tavares-Finson told Splash.

According to Tavares-Finson, he and other members of Kartel's legal team visit the deejay once a month. He says his client spends a lot of his time reading and writing songs.

Asked if the entertainer has expressed any fear of a long time behind bars, Tavares-Finson said although Kartel has not openly admitted it, like any accused he may have his doubts.

"Everyone who is going through that process or is behind bars must have that sort of emotion creeping over them every once in a while...It is only natural that one will think about being incarcerated for a lengthy period if found guilty," he stated.

Vybz Kartel, whose real name is Adijah Palmer, and his co-accused Vanessa 'Gaza Slim' Saddler and Andre 'Pim Pim' Henry will return to court on November 12 when they will be tried for perverting the course of justice.

Kartel, along with his protégé Shawn Storm and fashion stylist Calvin 'Moonie' Haye, is also charged for the murder of Clive Williams who was beaten to death in August of last year.

His arrest in September last year ended a controversial run of incidents that ranged from the banning of some of his songs for lewdness, to kidnapping.

While Kartel languishes in jail, several artistes from his 'Gaza Empire' including Tommy Lee and Pop Caan, have emerged.

Has Kartel's absence helped their success?

Cultural commentator Clyde McKenzie says this is questionable.

"Artistes like Popcaan, Tommy Lee and Potential Kid have emerged and done well for themselves but one cannot rightly say this is a result of Vybz Kartel being locked away from society, as no one knows what would happen if he was here," McKenzie reasoned.

"Vybz Kartel is definetly a most important figure in dancehall and since his physical absence, clearly there hasn't been any other artiste that has got his stature," he added.

McKenzie said Kartel remains a force as many songs un-released before his legal troubles, are lapped up by his fans.

"There are still new recordings that keeps him very active in the system. His absence will be felt among his fans though, as he cannot be as productive behind bars and, of course, they cannot watch him perform live," he concluded.

See related stories on page 28

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