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Kartel trial dominates discussions on social media

BY KARIM SMITH Observer writer

Monday, March 17, 2014    

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THE slogan 'Free World Boss' has been popping up on social media ever since the trial of entertainer Vybz Kartel began last November, with the frequency of posts increasing Thursday as Jamaicans voiced their reaction to the guilty verdict of the popular entertainer and three of his co-accused in the murder of Clive 'Lizard' Williams.

The hashtags #FREEWORLDBOSS and #FREEKARTEL were still trending on Twitter yesterday as they were since November last year when the trial began in the Home Circuit court in downtown Kingston.

On Thursday, 38-year-old Vybz Kartel, whose real name is Adidja Palmer; Shawn 'Shawn Storm' Campbell, Kahira Jones and Andre St John, were found guilty for the August 2011 murder of Clive Williams, whose body is yet to be found. The 11-member jury voted 10 to one against the four men. A fifth man, Shane Williams, was freed of the charge, but faces another and remains in custody.

On Facebook, there were many comments on the fairness, or lack thereof, of the justice system.

One woman wrote that she believes justice had been served, much to the chagrin of supporters of the entertainer.

"...People shouldn't mix up real Hero with that justice has been served so all you do or say it won't change," she responded to the many criticisms.

Another individual posted that he disagrees with verdict and that the justice system should focus more on the rising number of police killings.

"Free up the man! A lot of people a kill people, nothing nuh new. Police a kill off the ghetto youth them like rice grain so know weh unuh a say," the young man posted.

Another man, in defence of the entertainer, stated that he believes that the verdict was not fair but rather to protect the integrity of Jamaica's justice system.

"I think it was unfair. I really believe Kartel and the others were prosecuted as Jamaica's justice system was on trial and in order for them to not look like total idiots they worked hard to ensure that a guilty verdict was arrived at," the young man stated.

Many tweets prior to the verdict were optimistic that the entertainer would have walked free. The tweets quoted the lyrics of many of Kartel's more positive songs.

Some, in a bid to show their support for the entertainer, posted pictures of bars of cake, which the entertainer once claimed was the reason for his suddenly fair skin. Others posted pictures of lizards, obviously in direct reference to the murder victim.

One individual posted a picture of a lizard on the limb of a tree with the caption: "Bwoy Lizzard. Tell everybody seh World Boss kill yuh, but yuh alive and well a hide inna man yaad #FreeWorldBoss."

This post, which has been retweeted more than 80 times, was merely one of many that popped up on timelines during the long trial.

Following Thursday's guilty verdict, the focus seemed to have shifted from the lizard to a woman who was photographed outside the downtown Kingston courthouse holding a placard with the words, "yahway name only Vybz Kartel we need in the world."

Many expressed that they are at a loss as to the meaning of the message.

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