The Minister responsible for Immigration in Bermuda has “used his sole discretion and authority” to grant approval for reggae legend Buju Banton – Mark Anthony Myrie to perform in Bermuda.
In a statement released at 7pm tonight, National Security Minister Wayne Caines said that “notwithstanding Mr Myrie’s incarceration, “he is also keenly aware of the sensitivities” regarding Buju Banton’s “music from decades ago”.
The most controversial song in question is ‘Boom Bye Bye’, which has been “removed from his catalogue of music and will not be performed going forward”.
The internationally known reggae artist has already apologised for the song recorded when he was 15-years-old and written about a pedophile.
The Minister stated tonight that he “believes that the social positives of Mr Myrie’s upcoming visit outweigh the negatives”,
“As the Minister of National Security, which includes responsibility for Police, Customs, Corrections, Fire and Immigration, I am keenly aware of the challenges that result from the misuse of drugs.
“As it relates to Mr Myrie’s particular situation he has served his mandated period of incarceration, and has publicly said that he wishes to use his personal experience of incarceration as a way to uplift, motivate and help others.
“In fact, in March this year he stated: ‘I only want to be associated with my craft. Having survived, I want to share the good news and strength of my music. I just want to continue making music, which I’ve devoted my life to. I look forward to the opportunity to say a personal thanks to my fans and everyone who supported me.’
The Minister continued: “Our Ministry supports any type of personal, rehabilitation, redemption and social commitment, particularly as we ourselves engage with at risk young people on a regular basis.”
Since December 2018, he said: “Mr Myrie has been granted permission to enter and perform in Trinidad, Grenada, Guyana, the British Virgin Islands, St. Kitts, Amsterdam, Belgium, Bahamas, Surinam, France and Germany.
“Due to Mr. Myrie’s conviction and imprisonment in excess of two years, he must receive permission from the Minister responsible for immigration to be allowed to perform in Bermuda,” he added.
“Ultimately, we believe that if given the opportunity to perform in Bermuda, Mr Myrie’s performance will have an exceedingly positive effect on our community.
“One only needs to look at the successful Long Walk to Freedom Concert in Jamaica where he performed in front of 30,000 people at the Jamaica National Stadium.
“Through his music, he used that occasion to share a socially responsible message, a message of cultural relevance and a message that sought to uplift and unite the people.
“I believe that Buju Banton is a musical, social and cultural icon whose message of unity, redemption and love make his immigration circumstances rare and exceptional.”
“I have reviewed all aspects of the matter and as a result of the special circumstances articulated above, I have granted Mr. Mark ‘Buju Banton’ Myrie permission to enter Bermuda. In the words of the late Dennis Brown, ‘Love and hate can never be friends’.”