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Artistes take a stance

Observer senior writer

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Disturbed by perceived United States interference in Venezuela, a group of roots-reggae artistes have recorded Hands Off, a defiant song that calls out President Donald Trump as a greedy despot trying to overthrow the South American country's elected leader.

Hands Off was inspired by the instability singers Kiddus I, Cedric Myton and Winston McAnuff saw when they visited Venezuela in February. The country was in turmoil as opponents of President Nicolas Maduro challenged his legitimacy, and sought to replace him with Juan Guaido, who has support from the Trump Administration.

In an interview with the Jamaica Observer, Kiddus I described the US stance as disgraceful. He said it is similar to their involvement in other countries including Jamaica, Chile, Nicaragua, Iran and Libya.

“When wi saw what was going on we decided to do a song 'cause it's unacceptable what di US is trying to do in Venezuela,” said Kiddus I, who along with Myton and McAnuff, are members of the Inna De Yard group. They recruited Sister Carol and Anthony B for the song which is produced by Overground Reggaelution.

It is supported by a video filmed in Jamaica and Venezuela.

An experienced side of musicians played on Hands Off, including bass guitarist Errol “Flabba Holt” Carter, guitarist Winston “Bo Pee” Bowen, percussionist Kush McAnuff (who also sings) and keyboardist Ozune.

Maduro, who became president in 2013 following the death of Hugo Chavez, was re-elected to a second six-year term in May 2018. The Jamaican government, according to foreign minister Kamina Johnson-Smith, are willing to “participate in the search for a sustainable diplomatic solution” in Venezuela.

The governments of Cuba, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and St Vincent and The Grenadines, recognise Maduro's administration as legitimate.

Kiddus I, Myton and McAnuff are stalwarts of Inna De Yard. Along with Ken Boothe, they are featured in Inna De Yard, a documentary by British film director Peter Webber.