Buju Banton - Home beckons, reggae superstar closes dark chapter
After nine years in US federal prison, Buju Banton is set to return to his island home, bringing to an end a sordid chapter in his life.
Buju, whose given name is Mark Myrie, was arrested on December 10, 2009 by the United States federal authorities. The Til Shiloh singer was held on narcotics charges, and it took the two trials to convict him.
Based on the US Bureau of Prisons (BOP) website, Buju is slated to be released this Saturday. The website, however, says the date "reflects the inmateís projected release date based on BOP calculations." In 2016, the BOP adjusted Buju's release date to December 8,2018. It was initially set at February 2019.
In anticipation of his release, fans across the region have been organising various events to mark the return of the Gargamel. When he leaves the McRae Correctional Facility in Georgia, Buju is expected to be housed in a deportation facility before being sent back to Jamaica.
However, it is unclear when he will be deported.
Superintendent Dahlia Garrick, head of the Corporate Communications Unit, said that deportees are normally sent back from the United States on last Thursdays. However, there have been instances where deportations do not follow that routine. It is unclear whether special arrangements have been made to allow for Bujuís return before the last Thursday of December.
Meanwhile, in Trinidad, promoters have been given the go ahead to host a show on Saturday called 'The Reunification', which is an event to commemorate the release of the reggae superstar.
Although a petition had been launched to get the event cancelled, Aba Luke, media liaison for the event, said that while she understands the anxiety some residents may be feeling at this time, there is no cause for concern.
"There will be no stopping at any particular venue or space. Itís an ongoing show, like a motorcade basically. So, thereís not going to be any issues relative to noise in any one particular space or anything to that effect," she said.
"All permits have been granted. We also have police and supporting staff relative to mobile security thatís gonna be on the roads with the trucks. The people are really looking forward to the event, and itís going to just be one huge celebration."
Luke said that her team felt the need to do something to celebrate the Gargamelís return because of his contributions to the Caribbean. She added that Trinidadians are anticipating the event and are planning to turn out in droves to stand with the entertainer as he steps out as a free man for the first time since 2009.
In addition to that event in Trinidad, an official watch party is set to take place via Facebook on Friday night and will continue into Saturday. Dubbed the 'Buju Official's Release Watch VIGIL', the Facebook Live event is a fan-based global watch party. Interested persons are being asked to join in on 48 hours of prayer and praise, as fans of the deejay await his release. To be part of the live stream, persons simply log on to the eventís Facebook page.