Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Today is a sad day.  Buju Banton was convicted yesterday of three charges related to a drug deal, and I cry INJUSTICE! 

Buju has been found guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine, knowingly and intentionally possessing a firearm in furtherance of and during the course of a drug-trafficking crime, and aiding and abetting others in using a communication facility in the commission of a felony.

The jury, however, returned a not-guilty verdict for attempting to possess five kilograms or more of cocaine.

Defence attorney David Oscar Markus, who, in closing arguments last week, begged the jury to return a not-guilty verdict, was a broken man when he descended the steps of the Sam M. Gibbons Building which houses the United States Middle District Court, Florida Division, in Tampa.

"We are all very upset and disappointed and emotional. The only person who seems to be OK is Buju. We just saw him in the lock-up and he told us that he was happy that he fought, knowing that he is innocent," Markus said.

He added: "We are just devastated. We are going to keep fighting, we are going to appeal, but right now I feel empty. I really don't have anything else to say … . We are just going to keep fighting."
His colleague, Mark Seitles, who an hour earlier interpreted questions asked by the jury in relation to two of the charges as a ray of hope for Buju, wept as he walked from the courthouse.

"If these are the questions, then it's definitely not guilty," Seitles had whispered to Markus just after 1 p.m. in the courtroom.

The prosecution, led by Jim Preston, argued in court that Buju, who bragged in conversations with an informant about being part of a major cocaine-trafficking ring, conspired with his long-time friend Ian Thomas to purchase cocaine from undercover detectives at a Florida warehouse.

The iconic Jamaican artiste, whose sentencing hearing date has not yet been determined, will now face 15 years to life behind bars.

Buju was not at the warehouse when the crime was committed, but the prosecution pointed to the recorded conversations of him saying he does not get involved but stays in the trenches as evidence that he was a behind-the-scenes man.

Thomas, along with James Mack, who has said he has never met Buju, was arrested on December 10, 2009 when they presented more than US$130,000 to the detectives and were about to leave with the cocaine.

Buju has denied the claims made by the US government. While on the stand last week, he said he was "stupid" to have said the things he did and even to have tasted the cocaine in the warehouse. He, however, said the conversations captured by the informant, Johnson, had no flesh on them, as he was "just talking".

Buju has also said he would not have fought for his life and his freedom if he had committed the acts.

This comes less than two weeks after the DJ won his first Grammy for his latest album, Before The Dawn.

Our life and our destiny are sometimes predestined, and no matter where this journey takes me, remember, I fought the good fight. It was a great man that said my head is bloody but still unbowed. I love you all, thank you for your support”. -- Buju's statement to supporters, read by his attorney, David Oscar Markus.

I am just gutted, I cannot believe this.  I have been one of Buju’s biggest fan since the early 90’s and this is just a terrible blow to him, all his fans, and the reggae music scene.   He already spent a year in jail before trial, and the first jury came back hung, I thought for sure he was on his way to freedom.  Today is my birthday, and I do not even feel happy, I am just so incredibly sad…..

FREE DA GENERAL!  We will never stop praying for justice and Jah will watch over you Buju.  Jah knows your innocent, and so do we.  Love you, Jah Bless.

"JAH knows I’m Innocent.
JAH knows I'm Innocent. Yeah!

Look I here now
come now I sayeth
don’t afflict  anymore, oh no

Earth is my mother
have known no other
the forces have gathered for what I don’t know
I really don’t know

They think they’re clever
doing whatever
all men will have to reap what they sow
from the earth and soul

Men says what eyes don’t see, heart don’t lead
they play the game a finders keepers losers weep
just to find a food to eat
they apply systematic pressure
but we know we must make it better yeah!

This earth is my mother   
and I’ve known no other
the forces have gathered for what I don’t know
I really don't know
they think they’re  clever
doing whatever
all men will have to reap what they sow
remember I tell you

I’ve been accused
wrongly convicted
JAH knows I’m innocent
JAH knows I’m innocent yeah!

I’ve been badly singled out by beloved friends and brethrens who sold me out,
I was the corner stone rejected and refused
left alone in my blues
your foot could never fit my shoes no no

And I wont bow yeah
I totally refuse
tell Babylon for them
we’ve got news
Rasta come to pick and choose  
were gonna choose well
 tell them I said go to hell

Earth is my mother
have known  I’ve known other
the forces have gathered for what I don’t know
I really I don’t know

They think that they’re clever
doing whatever
all men will have to reap what they sow
remember Buju tell you

Woah woah women cry no more
redemption try at night LORD
women needs a sister
I beg you wipe your eye
affliction and days of tension soon be over

I see joy
I see joy
over yonder
there is a greater day ahead
there is a greater day"

Unknown Sister

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