Reggae legend Buju Banton has denounced an announcement made by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) today that police officers can now immediately arrest persons who are found to be in breach of the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA) without warning.
Buju posted a copy of a press advisory from the JCF this afternoon, which noted that: “The public is being advised that as a result of the recent amendments to the Disaster Risk Management Act, the police are no longer required to give warning notices before effecting an arrest for breaches under the DRMA” and that “these persons can be arrested and charged immediately.”
The Til Shiloh artist, who has been warning over the last year that Jamaica was becoming a totalitarian state, then berated the lawmakers who supported the amendment to the DRMA, referring to them, as he did in February, as traitors.
“All members of parliament who voted for this have declared themselves to be enemies of Jamaican people. DO NOT TRAD ON US ANYMOOR,” he wrote.
Aside from the press release, the JCF has also warned on its Instagram page in a public advisory, that persons are urged to adhere to the DRMA to avoid prosecution.
The DRMA was amended to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
Today’s comments by Buju are just another in a string of condemnatory remarks that the singer has made against the Andrew Holness-led Administration for allegedly being a set of tyrants for its COVID-19 containment measures.
In in a video post in mid-March, after reading the updated mandates and the consequences for breaching the DRMA he declared it “oppression and tyranny”, adding that the “Jamaican constitution does not allow the Government of Jamaica to use the Office of the Prime Minister or any other office to oppress and pressure any citizen”.
“You Jamaicans better wake up before them come kick oonu door one one and do like what dem a do all ova di place… Memba ah we vote oonu in, oonu supposed to run the country fi wi, don’t gwaan like oonu wan switch it paan wi…and have the people dem think dem work for politicians. No! Politicians work for the country,” he said at the time.
In April last year during an interview with Level Medium, Buju had expressed disregard for physical distancing and statistical reports, questioned why “fake television reporters” were not wearing masks and expressed consternation about the “confusing advice” being disseminated by the media.
The following month, he set off a firestorm on Instagram after he posted a video in which he told Jamaicans to shun the COVID-19 testing programme, and expressed displeasure about the Government’s protracted lockdown in the country. The Stamina Daddy had also said out that Jamaicans had gotten and remained passive, even though it was time for extreme vigilance.
Then in October, he expressed frustration with the face mask-wearing protocols put in place to combat the spread of COVID-19 and implicitly called on Jamaicans to stop wearing face masks, in another online rant. The highly controversial comments sparked national outrage, with some people classifying the 47-year-old as mad, while others made a slew of derogatory comments about his past.
Buju had also blamed the State for the economic fallout and the rising poverty levels brought on by the containment measures, claiming that the authorities had failed to help the plethora of people who have been laid off or the businesses which had been forced to close.
In February this year, after learning that the Jamaican Government would be passing laws to grant immunity to vaccine producers from liability if Jamaicans suffer harm after taking the COVID-19 vaccine, the Voice of Jamaica artist took to social media to register his disgust.
He argued at the time that indemnification of vaccine producers is tantamount to betrayal of the nation by those put in positions of trust. “So the love for this nation and its people soooo great. They will allow there friends to kill you and it’s perfectly ok#honest # Jamaica land they love # not the people,” Buju had written on his Instagram page.