Ricky Trooper under US probe
UNITED States authorities maintain that Jamaican music selector Ricky Trooper had a real gun in his now infamous video monologue in which he abused Prime Minister Bruce Golding, some people in the entertainment industry and instructed that the recording be placed on YouTube.
The selector, whose real name is Garfield Augustus McKoy, is one of five prominent Jamaican members of the entertainment fraternity who lost their United States visas recently.
Trooper, ace deejays Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Mavado and Aidonia had their visas revoked by the United States at the end of March, resulting in losses to them of hundreds of thousands of US dollars, due to several cancelled shows and performances.
While the reason for the other entertainers is different, for Trooper, his tirade on YouTube during a visit to Atlanta forced authorities to rein him in.
"We are convinced that he had a real gun," a US Government official who is close to the matter told the Sunday Observer in a telephone interview last week.
"We looked at the gun from all angles, using the latest technology. We stopped the frame, examined it closely, removed sections of his body, like the hand, enlarged the picture and it was real, no fake at all.
"We were trying to get the specs of the gun and spotted something that looked like a serial number which led us to make certain recommendations, regarding action to be taken against him," the official said on condition of anonymity.
Asked if further action would be taken against the selector, the official said that additional investigations were being conducted and a determination would be made soon, which could involve a collaborative approach with Jamaican law enforcers.
Acting deputy commissioner of police in charge of operations Glenmore Hinds told the Sunday Observer that no formal request has yet come from the United States, but if that were to happen, the Jamaica Constabulary would be obliged to comply and co-operate with their northern neighbours.
"There is a mutual assistance treaty in place between Jamaica and the USA which we are bound by law to honour. We would be willing to assist them if an official request is made," Hinds said.
Declaring "We have guns", Trooper was seen pointing the item into a video camera, while instructing repeatedly that it be put on YouTube.
He also waded into the Gully/Gaza conflict by voicing support for the Gaza Alliance headed by deejay Vybez Kartel. The Gully faction is headed by deejay Mavado.
Last December, Prime Minister Golding called Kartel and Mavado to an emergency meeting at Jamaica House in an attempt to quell the bitter and violent feud -- which consumed much of the country, including schoolchildren -- between factions aligned to the two entertainers.
Both deejays told the meeting that there was no animosity between them and that the rivalry was sparked by over-exuberant fans. They pledged to quell the tensions.
In his video, Trooper also hit out at homosexuals and labelled one Jamaican promoter as having such tendencies, saying among other things that "you a go dead a Jamaica... a gunshot oonu want".
The entertainer, in a recent interview on the local television programme Impact with Cliff Hughes, denied that he had a real gun in the YouTube video, saying instead that it was a cigarette lighter shaped like a gun.
He also admitted that he had been drinking an alcoholic beverage, adding that it was part of the dancehall hype that forced selectors like himself to make certain comments that would have the effervescent effect of whipping up the fans in a particular location.
On the YouTube video, Trooper made comments about the United States which officials of that country deemed uncomplimentary.
"Merica, you caa get me out. A two visa me have... travelling and ray, ray... a the working visa that, and me have me 10-year," he said, pointing the camera to his passport and visas.
"Merica, me pay me tax," Trooper said, again, urging the cameraman to "put that on YouTube."
Trooper, who described himself as a legend, boasted in the expletive-filled 'presentation' of having owned 15 passports.
But the US Government appears offended by the St Catherine resident's action.
"These things are offensive to the United States. In these times of terrorism, we just cannot take chances, so we had to contact him to seek verification of some of the comments that he made," the official said in admitting that a US Government representative had spoken to the selector days after they saw the YouTube video.
Officials based at the US Embassy in Kingston did not respond to a Sunday Observer request for further information on the matter.
Local embassies often do not comment on such matters, officials often say.
The US official would not comment on a report that other deejays had their visas withdrawn because they performed at a dance hosted by West Kingston businessman Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, who is wanted by US authorities on drug- and gun-running charges.
The US Government last August submitted an extradition request for Coke to face trial in New York, but Jamaica has refused the request, citing breaches on the part of the Americans in the way evidence gathered against Coke was passed on to them by a member of the Jamaican constabulary.
A matter is now before Jamaica's Supreme Court Judge Roy Jones to determine the power of the justice minister and attorney general in extradition matters.
In the first instance, however, Justice Jones will determine whether or not Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller should remain a defendant in the matter.
Simpson Miller, along with Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica President Joseph M Matalon and Coke were originally named as defendants.
However, Attorney General Dorothy Lightbourne, who brought the motion, has suggested to the court that there was no basis upon which Matalon should remain a defendant, while the court at its sitting last week was told that local police had no address for Coke and he could not be found to be served a summons.