St. Lucia has become the latest Caribbean Community (Caricom) country to place a ban on Jamaican dancehall singer, Vybz Kartel, who had been scheduled to perform here at the end of the month.

A statement from the St Lucian government today noted that in deciding whether or not to grant a work permit to the singer, the government had deliberately refrained from rushing to a judgement by establishing an adhoc committee to discuss the request from the promoters.

It said that the committee was required to look at a number of factors, including a comprehensive research of the history of the artiste, solicit views and opinions of key institutions and organisations in the country and determine the general impact of the artiste’s performance on the population, particularly the youth.

“Having looked carefully at the significant amount of information presented, and considering the views and opinions of the many individuals and institutions as well as available options, the Government of St Lucia through the Ministry of Labour, Information and Broadcasting has decided not to grant a work permits to Mr Adidja Azim Palmer otherwise known as Vybz Kartel for performances at the Hot FM promoted Supreme Weekend show scheduled for April 30 and May 1, 2010.
“In light of the foregoing, and in order to ensure consistency and to avoid discrimination, Government has decided that in going forward, it is essential to establish a permanent committee to review applications for artistes seeking permits to perform in St Lucia,” the statement added.

Read more about it HERE.

I am all for protecting the youth, but I think all this banning is going a little too far. If you blame Vybz Kartel for youth violence then what's to stop beer companies for being blamed for teenage pregnancies? There are surveys done which link underage drinking with increase in sexual behaviour among teens. Who is taking responsibility for that??? Which Caribbean governments are stepping up to the plate and holding people accountable??? What about prominent leaders who are involved in the drug trade??? I am in no way making excuses for Kartel, but artists have a right to creative freedom and expression and I just wonder how much of this is really about protecting our young???

Think about it? How many school age children will go to the event ??? I'm sure some will, but by and large I expect the majority would be working adults. Moreover, these teenagers that the government wants to protect know Kartel's music from Internet downloads, or listening to them on the radio. In Dominica Mavado performed a while back and there was so much hoopla about whether he should be banned or not. He came did his thing, made his money and that was that. There was no major incident, that I am aware of.Young people listen to him, and they listen to other acts including Vegas and Bounty Killer. But they listen to Miley Cyrus too and Rihanna (who sings about suicide and making her "Rude Boy" get it up) and MFR and Triple Kay.

I am saying all this to say basically I feel that who wants to go to Kartel show go and who don't want to go stay home. It's not everything he sings I like, it's not everything he sings I don't like. I mostly listen to clean versions of his songs. I know every one is not me, ray-ray ray-rah-rah-rah, but as an artist too I just have to wonder, how do we weigh who's rights matter more?

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