While Buju was away

While Buju was away

Saturday, December 08, 2018

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Buju Banton was arrested in Miami by Drug Enforcement Administration agents in December 2009. He was charged with conspiracy to distribute and possession of more than five kilograms of cocaine.

After spending nearly a decade incarcerated in the United States, the Jamaican singer was released yesterday.

Here are some milestones the Grammy-winning entertainer missed while serving his sentence.

2010: The Tivoli Operation. The armed conflict between gunmen loyal to west Kingston don Christopher “Dudus” Coke, and members of the security forces. The lawmen go to Tivoli Gardens in search of Coke, after the United States Government requested his extradition. Seventy-three people are killed, including three members of the security forces.

2011: Vbyz Kartel is arrested in September of this year by police for marijuana possession. The Jamaica Constabulary Force's Major Investigation Taskforce later charges him with the murder of businessman Barrington Burton, as well as conspiracy and illegal possession of a firearm.

Kartel is later slapped with a life sentence for the disappearance of Clive “Lizard” Williams in March 2014.

2012:In the London Olympics, sprinter Usain Bolt makes history by winning a triple-triple: 100m; 200m; and being part of the 4 x 100m.

2012:Shabba Ranks performs on Reggae Sumfest for the first time in 18 years. Shabba Ranks inspired Buju Banton's sound.

2013: A neo roots revival movement sweeps Jamaica. Its front-runners, include Chronixx, Iba Mahr, Jessie Royal, Protoje and Jah9.

Incidentally, Buju Banton was part of the roots-revival moment of the 1990s, which included Garnett Silk, Yasus Afari, Capleton and Tony Rebel.

2014:Rebel Salute, the last major show Buju Banton performs on, becomes a two-day event. It is now recognised as one of the top reggae festivals in the world.

2015:Barack Obama, the United States' first black president, visits Jamaica.

2015:In keeping with global trends, lawmakers pass an act to decriminalise small amounts of marijuana and establish a licensing agency to regulate a lawful medical cannabis industry on the island. This means for the first time, Rastafarians can also legally use marijuana for religious purposes.

2015:Deejay Red Dragon, one of the artistes who helped put the community of Whitehall Avenue along Red Hills Road in Kingston on the map, dies. He was a forerunner of Buju Banton, who also hailed from that area,

2015 : 'Til Shiloh, Buju Banton's fourth album, turns 20. Many critics, at the time of its release believe the album restored faith in reggae music.

2016 : Usain Bolt completes another triple-triple at the Rio Olympics in Brazil. The occasion sees the ace sprinter wining the 100m, 200m and the 4 x 100m events. He is, however, stripped of the 4 100m relay gold from the Beijing Games in 2008 because his teammate Nesta Carter is found guilty of a doping violation.

2016:Andrew Holness, the first person from Buju Banton's generation, wins the General Election and becomes Jamaica's prime minister.

2018:The next time Buju visits Whitehall Avenue, its tributaries will have different names. Park Lane comprises Flourgon Way, Sanchez Drive, Lizard Close, Red Dragon Path, Terry Ganzie Way, Fabby Dolly Way and Sultan Way; all named after artistes from that community.

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