Veteran reggae/dancehall artist Buju Banton has lashed out at a Jamaican government agency after his request to start a foundation was denied due to his conviction.
In an Instagram post, Banton shared part of the refusal letter sent to him by the Charities Authority of Jamaica. The photo was captioned, “I BET I am way more honest than all of these fooled put together????”
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The Charities Authority is responsible for approving and regulating the establishment of charitable organizations on the island. The department falls under the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce.
In detailing the grounds for refusal, the letter stated that one of the objectives of the local Charities Act is to “maintain, protect and enhance public trust and confidence in charitable organizations in Jamaica”.
The department said that granting the deejay approval to register the Buju Banton Foundation would be contrary to this because of his 2011 conviction.
Banton was convicted for the illegal possession of a firearm and conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute in 2011. He was released from prison in December 2018 after serving seven of his 10-year sentence.
The Authority also wrote that for a Foundation to be granted approval, “all governing board members be a fit and proper person” who, whether in Jamaica or elsewhere, “has not been convicted of an offense involving dishonesty” and “who, in the opinion of the Authority, is a person of sound probity, and is able to exercise competence, diligence and sound judgment in fulfilling his responsibilities in the relation to a charitable organization.”
While venting about the denial of the request, Buju Banton also wrote “How much help these suckseities give Jamaican youths from the ghetto??”
The Buju Banton Foundation was announced in 2019, shortly after the deejay was released from prison.
Since then, the Foundation has donated computers to the Sunbeam Boys’ Home and the Mount Olivet Boys’ Home. After winning the 2020 Festival Song Competition, Banton also donated the J$3 million cash prize to the Sunbeam Home through his Foundation.