ST GEORGE’S, Grenada (CMC) — Immigration and labour officials here say the promoters of a show featuring the Jamaican singer, Buju Banton, have not yet made any request for an exemption allowing him to enter the island for the May 11 event.
Banton, whose real name is Mark Anthony Myrie, will headline the “Night of Love” carded for May 11 here as part of a tour of several Caribbean countries.
Earlier this week, the Trinidad and Tobago government announced an exemption for the Jamaican singer because the country’s Immigration Act prohibits “persons who have been convicted of or admit to having committed any crime, which if committed in Trinidad and Tobago would be punishable with imprisonment for one or more years”.
The legislation also allows for the minister of national security to issue a written permit to allow any person to enter the island or to remain therein. National Security Minister Stuart Young gave the assurance that once the promoters request the necessary exemption, he was prepared to grant an exemption.
Grenada’s immigration law also has similar provisions, but the final directive will be at the discretion of the Immigration Minister after an application is made for a work permit at the Ministry of Labour.
Grenada’s Minister for Immigration is Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell.
When asked if his company was aware of the law, Ian St Bernard of Sunshine Promotions replied, “I am not a lawyer, I don’t know anything about that, I have my work permit, call the Attorney General and ask them about that.”
Immigration officials have explained that as a Caribbean Community (Caricom) national, there is provision for all Caricom nationals to enter the island, however, the minister of immigration can approve entry and denial.
“It is always at the pleasure of a receiving state that a person is allowed into a country, so in the case of Buju, who served time in prison and did not receive a pardon, an immigration officer without receiving an exempt instruction will have to comply with the law,” one immigration official said.
An official from the Ministry of Labour explained that despite the provision for free travel within Caricom, entry to an island is still guided by the Immigration Act.
In 2011 Buju Banton was sentenced to 10 years in prison after he was convicted of conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute. He was released in December 2019 from a USA federal prison after serving seven years behind bars.