JCF refutes claims of Gov't stop order against Popcaan

KINGSTON, Jamaica— The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Wednesday refuted claims by dancehall artiste Popcaan that the Government of Jamaica placed a stop order against the entertainer who is being detained in the UK.

READ: Popcaan detained by UK Immigration, calls on PM Holness for help

In a release the JCF revealed that the artiste, whose given name is Andre Sutherland, was arrested twice in Barbados on charges of possession of marijuana in 2009 - for which he was deported to Jamaica- and in 2011 answered to charges related to possession of cocaine.

"Arising from those arrests and other intelligence gathered, a Green Notice was generated by Interpol in relation to him in 2015. The Notice was then reconfirmed by Interpol in 2018. A Green Notice provides Interpol members with a warning about a traveller’s potential criminal activities, where the person may be considered a threat to public safety," a release from the JCF said.

JCF further explained that travellers who have been issued a Green Notice by Interpol may be subjected to Secondary Security Screening at International Airports for a variety of reasons and these reasons fall completely within the purview of the local authorities in those respective jurisdictions, the release said.

Earlier today, Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith also categorically denied that the Andrew Holness administration had anything to do with Popcaan’s continued detention at the airport whenever he attempts to enter the United Kingdom.

"Checks with the Home Office advised that @Popcaanmusic was released. We further confirm that his stop and check was not at the instance of the Govt of JA. We also conveyed to the Home Office a letter from his attorney-at-law who may update the public as seen fit," the Foreign Minister tweeted.

Bert Samuels, the attorney-at-law representing Popcaan, had posited on Tuesday that it was agents, acting at the behest of Jamaican government, who had flagged the artiste's travels to the UK.

“Popcaan’s harassment at Heathrow airport is as a consequence of the Jamaican state putting a red flag on his name. Can you believe an artist who carries our flag high and with no criminal record being embarrassed in foreign country because his own country says he is a wrong doer?” Samuels tweeted.

Twitter users challenged Samuels' version of events, but he clapped back saying that the UK High Commission had issued the ‘Only Man She Want’ artiste with a visa, so why would they seek to detain him?

“To the doubters on my Popcaan tweet – Popcaan travels to the UK on a visa issued by the UK. If they (the UK) had an issue with him would they have granted a visa? Would they cancel the visa if they subsequently discovered an issue? So whose intelligence is acting out here?” Samuels tweeted.

On Tuesday, Popcaan informed his three million followers on Instagram that - once again - the UK immigration officers at an airport had detained him. He tagged Prime Minister Andrew Holness and lobbied for a resolution to what he deemed to be unwarranted harassment triggered by his own country.

"They just give me this paper and detained me; because of information that was sent by my country that I should be stopped everytime I’m here. I wonder why," he said in a video.

Claude Mills

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