Tufton sets record straightMonday, October 26, 2020
BY BRIAN BONITTO
DR Christopher Tufton, health and wellness minister, used his weekly COVID-19 virtual press conference to set the record straight in light of Buju Banton's recent anti-mask wearing utterance.
“Wearing of mask it is the norm, not the exception. In the developed world, in the United States, it's all there. We're very confident it is the right thing to do and we certainly would encourage Jamaicans to comply, and this is why this is part of the law, as contained in the orders,” Tufton said on Thursday evening. “We will continue to push that message because we think it's the right thing so to do.”
Tufton's position echoes that of the World Health Organization which states that wearing a mask, especially when persons cannot social distance six feet, limits the risk of getting COVID-19.
Last Wednesday, Buju Banton took to Instagram in an expletive-laced tirade denouncing the wearing of masks while urging Jamaicans to be mindful of lies.
Wi waan done with this mask-wearing bull*** inna Jamaica. Who fi dead a go dead, an' who nah go dead ah fi jus' live,” the entertainer told his 1.2 million followers.
“Who are these intellectual fools telling us how to live our lives? If you're so smart, why haven't you found the cure for cancer? You are touting a line and putting the Jamaican people in abject fear and driving us all to poverty. What have you done for all those who you have laid off and mek dem business close early? Jamaican people need to wake up. Mi nah wear no mask 'cause mask nuh mek fi man...Free mi people, free my people now,” he continued.
Buju Banton received heavy backlash on social media for his comments, which many people labelled as “irresponsible” and “unfortunate”.
Like the rest of the world, Jamaica is grappling with the COVID-19 virus. So far, the island has recorded nearly 200 deaths while close to 9,000 people have tested positive. Globally, 42.8 million have tested positive and the death toll is at 1.15 million.
Reggae pioneer Toots Hibbert, engineer/producer Barry O'Hare, and politician DK Duncan are among those who have succumbed to COVID-19.
Buju Banton's “no mask” stance was evident when he hosted American rapper Kanye West at his Gargamel Studio in Kingston, recently. The two have collaborated on a yet-to-be-released single.
At a subsequent Jamaica House press conference, Prime Minister Andrew Holness was quizzed whether West had breached the mandatory 14-day quarantine on his arrival to the island by private jet.
“My understanding was that he would have visited Buju Banton's studio. The circumstances around that would have to be thoroughly investigated. I don't have the details around that, as to whether or not permission was given, how that was arranged, whether or not protocols were observed,” was Holness's response.
Buju Banton, whose given name is Mark Myrie, was released from a US federal prison in December 2018 after serving nine years on drug-related charges.
He won the Jamaica Festival Song Competition in July with his entry I Am A Jamaican.
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