Despite the continuous release of new music and claims that he got engaged to a dancehall superstar in the summer during an alleged authorised prison visit, junior national security minister Zavia Mayne insists that dancehall entertainer Vybz Kartel is not receiving special treatment.
“Absolutely not!,” said Mayne after being asked whether the ‘World Boss’ is enjoying unusual privilege.
“As it now stands, he is an individual that has been convicted through the judicial and justice system. He has, at the first instance in the Supreme Court, [been] tried and found guilty. He has appealed and the Court of Appeal has affirmed the ruling of the court below. There is absolutely no reason to treat him specially,” Mayne added.
Kartel, whose given name is Adidja Palmer, was last week transferred from the Horizon Adult Remand Centre to the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre, following the airing of a new Fox5 New York interview.
In the interview, Sidem Ozturk, a British social worker, said she visited Jamaica in the summer, and got engaged to Kartel during a prison visit. She said she began corresponding with the entertainer in 2015 and met him for the first time in 2019.
When THE WEEKEND STAR sought confirmation of the alleged engagement and other queries, Mayne said, “I am absolutely in no position to confirm. The best person to confirm would be Mr Kartel, but guess what? Where he is now he can’t help you.”
The alleged engagement is the latest is a string of hair-raising incidents involving the entertainer, who has managed to maintain his dominance as a dancehall artiste despite being locked up.
Mayne said he has “heard the talks” about Vybz Kartel recording music from behind bars, but could not confirm whether the rumours were true. He, however, added that the issue is of concern to him and the Andrew Holness-led government.
“But what we do know is that the position of prohibited articles, items, within our correctional facilities has been a challenge for us, and that is something that the Government has taken a keynote of, and we are aggressively pursuing solutions for same,” he said.
Kartel, 46, is serving a life sentence for the 2011 murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams, a former associate of his, and must complete 32 and a half years before he becomes eligible for parole. He has appealed his conviction and sentence to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Jamaica’s final appellate court.