Contrary to earlier reports, Sunshine Promotions, producers of Buju Banton’s Long Walk to Freedom May 11 concert tour in Grenada, billed as the “Night of Love” issued a statement assuring ticket holders and interested patrons of the concert that all requisite paperwork have been obtained to ensure Buju Banton’s entry into Grenada and his performance at the National Cricket Stadium.
This statement was issued in what the promoters said was misleading information recently published in a Grenadian-based online publication.
In a statement the promoters said, “Sunshine Promotions has undergone the standard protocols and procedures required to secure work permits and by extension the related CARICOM documentation for all regional artistes slated to perform at its annual event.
An earlier CMC report indicated Immigration and labor officials in Grenada said the promoters of the “Night of Love” concert had not yet made any request for the required exemption allowing him to enter the island for the show, at which Buju is slated as the headliner.
Trinidad and Tobago approve exemption
Last 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.”
TT law 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 in the Ministry of Labor.
According to the report when asked if his company was aware of the law, Ian St Bernard of Sunshine Promotions said, “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 Grenada, however, the Minister of Immigration can approve enter and denial.
“It’s 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 received 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 Labor explained that despite the provision for free travel within CARICOM, entry to an island is still guided by the Immigration Act.
Buju was released in December 2018 after serving time in a US federal prison after being convicted of conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute.