Hopes high as Vybz Kartel verdict nears
As persons wait with bated breath for the verdict in the Vybz Kartel murder appeal, one of the World Boss' family members is declaring that he is confident that the entertainer and his co-convicts will get a positive decision.
"I am feeling strong, up, and positive about everything, and I am just waiting on that special day to come, enuh," Sikka Rymes said in an interview with The STAR.
"I look at him [Vybz Kartel] as more than a mentor. He is a father, uncle, brother, and everything in one. We may not have any celebrations planned at the moment, but I can tell you it's going to be a day all of us come together as one and just bare laughter," he said.
Kartel, whose given name is Adidja Palmer, turns 44 tomorrow. It is the eighth consecutive year that the Summer Time artist is spending his birthday behind bars, having been locked up in 2011. But his fate now rests in the hands of the Court of Appeal judges who are expected to decide soon whether he is released from prison or remains locked up.
The Court of Appeal last December indicated that a ruling would be handed down in short order. Through registrar Stacie-Ann Reid, it said in a letter to Kartel's lead attorney that it was at an "advanced stage" of preparing the judgment.
The letter was sent on December 2 to Tom Tavares-Finson and copied to other attorneys in the case and stated that "as soon as it (the appeal) is ready and the court has set a delivery date, all parties will be duly notified".
Bert Samuels, who represents Kartel's co-convict Shawn Storm, said the lawyers were awaiting notification.
"We have not received the call as yet. Usually, the registrar would call the office to inform us that judgment will be handed down in three days, but we haven't received that call as yet," Samuels told THE STAR last night.
Mandatory life sentences
Vybz Kartel, Shawn Campbell, Kahira Jones, and Andre St John were convicted in 2014 for the 2011 murder of Clive 'Lizard' Williams. They were all given mandatory life sentences, but the Romping Shop artiste was ordered to serve 35 years before being eligible for parole.
Campbell, Jones, and St John were ordered to each serve 25 years before they became eligible for parole.
Sikka Rymes, who was shot and injured in December, said he had not visited Kartel in prison since he was released from hospital. He, however, said that members of the Gaza Empire were upbeat as they awaited the ruling of the court.
He said that the original Gaza Empire disbanded when the case against Kartel started, but dancehall entertainers like Lisa Hyper, Gaza Sheba, and UTG, which comprises Vybz Kartel's children Likkle Vybz and Likkle Addi, along with him, are still around.
"Everybody did part ways, but I am looking for the family to grow ... to get bigger with more music and new artistes," Sikka Rymes said.