If he did the crime...

Monday, July 16, 2018

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Dear Editor,

I saw that Vybz Kartel's lawyers managed to secure an appeal, and this has caused mixed reactions both locally and internationally. Everyone is weighing in and giving their opinions, some based on logic, some on bias, and other just sheer ignorance.

But who I can never understand are those diehard Vybz Kartel fans. They have looked beyond the grave act that he has been convicted of committing. This I think must either be hypocrisy or ignorance. To each his own, yes; everyone has a right to voice their opinions, but why can some say “Free Kartel!” or “Free Wurl Boss” and others cannot say “He deserved the jail time” without being threatened or assaulted?

This Vybz Kartel dilemma will always remain fresh in my mind for more reasons than one. Kartel, with no doubt, is a very talented individual. It is just a pity he did not realise what he had and walk away from a life of crime before it was too late.

In life we all need good role models, people to inspire us, but in this day and age role models can be 'relative', because people often cannot distinguish what is right from what is wrong, and what is good from what is bad. One thing I know about Jamaicans, they are loyal to a tee; once they love or in layman terms 'rate' you, you can never do anything wrong in their eyes. And equally, if they hate you, you can never do anything right and they will forever call down brimstone and fire.

I recall a woman on television about the time Vybz Kartel was sentenced saying, “Afta ano one big man him kill; dem a gwaan like a politician him kill.” This is an illiterate and ignorant way of thinking. A life is a life, irrespective of whom the person is. However, typical Jamaicans believe fame, status and wealth dictate how people see you or even if they see you, literally.

All that I have heard and read online line brought me to these questions:

• Why is Kartel different from anyone else who has committed murder?

• Why do we feel he must be given a second chance and others should not?

If he has done the crime he should do the time, and this goes for anyone who feels as if they can break the law and get away because of status. This is what is destroying the country. Our people are so caught up with material things that they are willing to sell their souls for a loaf of bread, or just to be happy, are and not thinking about the consequences or the morality of their actions.

All the evidence gathered by the prosecutors pointed to his guilt. The nature of what transpired, the voice notes, texts and testimonies had me stunned for days. I could not believe a man that rose to stardom would put his career on the line by engaging in criminal activities. Activities he knows might catch up with him in the long run. Was he not thinking about his children or family members? Children live what they learn, and no matter where they go or how they have been exposed they will eventually be drawn back to what they originally know.

It is not common for Jamaican entertainers to be involved in callous criminal activities and then play on the public for sympathy. Some of these artistes were involved in these activities before they became famous, and instead of them backtracking and distancing themselves from these activities, they start to create their own gangs and fund criminal activities in their communities.

The security forces are no fools — as much we want to believe they are, they are not. They know exactly who they are looking for and why. The intelligence gathered will identify the activities, participants and locations. But they are usually backed into a corner by high-profile lawyers and the court of public opinion.

Some share the idea that they answer to no man, but they must remember a day will come when they themselves have to answer for their sins. Just like in the court of law, they will have to answer and give account for their actions.

Nickoy Brown


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