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Monday, April 14, 2014

Reporters told they will be killed for Vybz Kartel coverage



According to the Jamaica Observer, DEATH threats have been made against the lives of two journalists for their reporting on the Vybz Kartel case.

Jamaica Observer Crime/Court Desk Editor Karyl Walker and Nationwide News Network reporter/producer Abka Fitz-Henley have been identified as the reporters whose lives have been threatened.

Yesterday, Walker received several threatening calls on his cellular phone making reference to yesterday's Sunday Observer lead story that carried no by-line.

"P.... hole, a wah dat yu write bout di man a bran him as informa; wi know weh yu live," the first caller told Walker.
Walker calmly told the caller that the only article he had in the paper was one about problems in Port Royal.

But the caller insisted that it was Walker who wrote the story, saying that he knew his writing style.

The article quoted a source in the police high command as saying that Vybz Kartel had given information to the police that led to the recovery of 17 illegal firearms and the apprehension of several wanted men in the Portmore, St Catherine area. The police source said also that Kartel gave up the information in an effort to avoid being charged with the murder of associate Clive 'Lizard' Williams.

In the case of Fitz-Henley, he was threatened shortly after Nationwide aired the voice notes that were used by the prosecution in convicting the artiste and three co-accused — Shawn 'Shawn Storm' Campbell, Kahira Jones and Andre St John — for Williams' murder.
In the voice notes, a man, whose voice has been attributed to Vybz Kartel could be heard issuing death threats if Williams did not recover two guns that were stolen while in his care.

The explosive voice notes were taken from Vybz Kartel's phone. They were compiled into a 10-minute-long package with musical interludes and narrated by Fitz-Henley.

Yesterday, Nationwide boss and senior journalist Cliff Hughes confirmed the threat against Fitz-Henley.

"We have written to the commissioner of police, formally bringing it to his attention and asking him to investigate and provide the necessary guidance and protection," Hughes told the Observer. The letter to the commissioner was sent off on Friday.

"In two instances last week after we played the voice notes from the trial, Abka got a direct call to his phone telling him to leave Kartel alone, if not all kinda things could happen to him," Hughes said.

He added: "Last Monday morning, the security guard at our front desk received a call from a man demanding to speak with me. When he heard that I wasn't there, he told the security guard to tell Abka to leave — and he used an expletive — Kartel alone because wi know weh him live and wi a go murder di bwoy. We don't know if it is coming from Kartel or from exuberant supporters...."

The journalists aren't the only ones to be threatened as a result of the Vybz Kartel matter.

Sergeant Patrick Linton, the former cybercrime boss, who gave technical evidence in the matter, had received threats and there was an attempt to firebomb his house.

The director of public prosecutions and her team who handled the case also received death threats.

The convicts were sentenced to life imprisonment with Kartel ordered to serve 35 years at hard labour before becoming eligible for parole, Campbell and Jones are to each serve 25 years before the possibility of parole, and St John is to serve 30 years before he's eligible for parole.

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Attorney Tavares-Finson denies police claims about Vybz Kartel


(BY PAUL HENRY)
ATTORNEY Tom Tavares-Finson has denied information in yesterday's Sunday Observer article that outlined that convicted entertainer Vybz Kartel gave the police information that led to the apprehension of wanted men and the recovery of 17 firearms.

The attorney also rubbished claims made by the police that Vybz Kartel was an influential figure in the deadly Spanish Town-based Klansman Gang, and that the gang carried out killings on his behalf.

"That is nothing but further propaganda by the police," said the senior attorney, who described the police's comments as "highly irresponsible"."The presentation by the Observer yesterday reflected just another attempt by the police and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to prejudice the appeal of Mr Palmer," Tavares-Finson said.

"We note that the source of the information is reported as being anonymous, but we recognise the hand of a particular individual at the Corporate Communication Network," Tavares-Finson added.

The article said that Vybz Kartel (real name Adidja Palmer) had met with the police to give them information when he realised that detectives were closing in on him for the murder of associate Clive 'Lizard' Williams, in August 2011, over the disappearance of two illegal firearms.

"No meeting was ever held between Mr Palmer and any police officer nor was Mr Palmer ever asked by any police officer to give them any information. That is a lie," the attorney said, as he disputed other assertions made in the front page article.

Additionally, Tavares-Finson noted that the article reported the police source as saying that the police had evidence that was not used in the five-week trial. He said he's hearing about the so-called further evidence for the first time, and that the director of public prosecutions should say why that evidence wasn't put before the court.

Vybz Kartel, Shawn 'Shawn Storm' Campbell, Kahira Jones and Andre St John have been sentenced to life imprisonment for Williams' murder. They are to serve 35, 30 and 25 years behind bars before being eligible for parole.

Yesterday, Tavares-Finson told the Observer that the men have signed their appeal documents which are to be filed with the Court of Appeal.

"We are confident that we will, regardless of the machinations of the police, get a fair hearing at the Court of Appeal," Tavares-Finson said.

source Jamaica Observer

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Breaking News : Kartel offered info on wanted men, arms?



CONVICTED entertainer Vybz Kartel told the police the whereabouts of several wanted men in Portmore, St Catherine and provided the authorities with information that led to the recovery of 17 illegal firearms, a highly-placed police source has disclosed.

The move by the embattled entertainer was part of an effort to gain his freedom, or at least a vastly reduced prison sentence, the police said.

The startling revelation came to light during a Jamaica Observer interview with a member of the constabulary's top brass late last week.

"He wanted to meet with the commissioner who assigned a member of the high command to meet him. During the meeting he offered information on wanted men in Portmore and also coughed up a number of illegal firearms. He was trying to broker a deal to get the charges dropped," the source said.

The police said several wanted men were subsequently nabbed.

Kartel along with André St John, Shawn 'Shawn Storm' Campbell and Kahira Jones were all found guilty and slapped with life sentences for the murder of Clive 'Lizard' Williams, who police say was bludgeoned to death at a house in Havendale, St Andrew, on August 16, 2011.

The men will have to serve 35, 30, and 25 years respectively if the Appellate Court throws out their appeals, which will likely be heard in a minimum three years from now, based upon the pace at which such appeals are dealt with.

According to the police source, the artiste made the offer when he realised that the walls were closing in on him, after homicide investigators were sealing up their probe into Williams' murder.

The police also said that Kartel and a funeral director also met with a top-ranking cop after a probe was launched into whether or not Williams' remains were cremated.

Police are also probing the disappearance of funeral home operator Jennifer Edwards, who went missing in January.

The police said evidence was suggesting that Edwards was killed and her body disposed of as she had knowledge of sinister dealings relating to Williams' body.

"We believe she was killed because she was the weak link and she knew too much, but we are still investigating," the source said.

Last Wednesday, Police Commissioner Owen Ellington drew the ire of defence attorney Tom Tavares-Finson when he declared that Kartel (real name Adidja Palmer) was the boss of a criminal outfit that was responsible for more than 100 murders.

Tavares-Finson could not be reached for comment on the latest allegation as the Sunday Observer prepared for a press deadline.

The Sunday Observer source went even further and named a well-known gang based in several Spanish Town communities, as the gang that the commissioner was referring to.

"He was very influential in the Klansman gang. That gang used to carry out his killings for him until his Gaza Empire started doing the murders themselves. We have footage of him and a leading Klansman member bragging about the best places to kill people, whether in the church or other places. That Klansman was heard bragging that he shot eight people in a church already," the source said.

The Sunday Observer has also been informed that the police have in their possession additional footage of the video that was shown in court where men were overheard planning murder.

The footage, the source said, showed a headless body, believed to be that of Williams, lying on the floor.

It was not clear why that was not entered into evidence during the recently concluded trial.

Shawn Campbell, another police source said, may have been a victim of loyalty to the 'Worl' Boss' as he now faces the possibility of serving a 25-year sentence after refusing a deal to plead guilty to accessory before or after the fact and serve a

three-year sentence.

The police said that Campbell may not have known that Williams and the prosecution star witness Lamar Chow were earmarked for death when he accompanied them in a taxi driven by a man known only as 'Need For Speed', to the ill-fated house.

"We have information that he was under the impression that the men would be beaten for their carelessness in the disappearance of the two guns. When he arrived, we heard he was surprised to see so many strange men, who we believe to be members of the Klansman gang, and that is why him tek weh himself.

"We know that it is only after the voice notes were revealed that he became aware that he, too, could have been harmed over the guns. Maybe he would have acted differently if he had heard some of the things that came out in court," the source said.

All four convicts are now being housed in a maximum security section of the New Horizon Adult Remand Centre on Spanish Town Road in Kingston where high-risk inmates are kept at the State's pleasure.



source : Sunday Observer

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Reggae Icons Marcia Griffiths & Judy Mowatt honored in NYC


International Reggae Queen Marcia Griffiths and legendary reggae/gospel singer Judy Mowatt, two thirds of the world famous I-Threes group, who provided backing vocals for reggae superstar Bob Marley in the 70's, were honored with the "Reggae Ambassador's Award" in New York by VP Records and Groovin Inc., sponsor and organizer of the fourth annual Groovin In The Park concert respectively. The awards were presented to the ladies for their supreme artistry, outstanding achievement and contribution to the development and promotion of reggae worldwide.

Tour manager and reggae historian Copeland Forbes was also honored for his contribution to the industry. The awards were presented at the New York launch of Groovin In The Park 2014.


Griffiths, who made the trek from Kingston to attend the presentation, used the opportunity to thank Miss Pat, co-founder of VP Records and event founder Christopher Roberts for considering her for the special award.

"I feel like I am truly blessed as this award is deeper than music. Thank you for allowing me to share this journey. Without you I would not have reached this milestone" she said to thunderous applause.

Judy, who performed with Marley in 1979 at his last concert at Madison Square Garden told the packed house, "Had it not been for God, for his gift and talents that he gave to me, I would not have been here this evening. So it is with heartfelt gratitude, I give thanks."

Griffiths and Mowatt, who collectively have contributed almost 100 years to the development and globalization of reggae music, will join a sizzling musical cast that blends vintage and contemporary hitmakers, at the 2014 Groovin In The Park in Queens on Sunday, June 29th.

Chronixx, John Holt and Bob Andy are among the other confirmed acts scheduled to perform. The one-day festival will also showcase other exciting elements of the island's culture too, such as the mouthwatering cuisine and the exciting island fashion.

Sponsors supporting the celebration this year include Grace Kennedy, TD Bank, SQPA, Nutrament, Western Union, MoneyGram, The Smoke House, The Door Restaurant, Bullzii, Groovin Radio and VP Records.




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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

TRINIDADIAN SOCA STAR FAY ANN LYONS JOINS VP RECORDS ARTIST ROSTER


(Photo by Akil Alves for Multimedia)

VP Records is happy to announce that Trinidadian soca vocalist and songwriter Fay Ann Lyons has signed to the Caribbean music record label for a multi-album record, publishing and merchandise deal.

"We are thrilled for Fay Ann to join our artist roster. She has a spark on stage that is innate and can't be duplicated. The multi-talented artist has already made history as one of soca's brightest stars and we are looking forward to spreading the movement worldwide," states VP Records CEO Chris Chin.

Fay Ann adds to the excitement, expressing that she is "glad to be part of the team and let's get to work!"

Fay Ann Lyons is already a superstar in her native country and across the Caribbean. During Trinidad & Tobago's Carnival season's annual competitions, Fay Ann has set the record as the only female artist to score the Carnival Road March title three times, taking the crown in 2003, 2008 and 2009. In 2009, she also won International Soca Monarch in Groovy, People's Choice and Power category and is the first soca artist ever to win that soca 'triplet' of titles. In addition to these feats, she has taken home 17 awards between the COTT (Copyright Organisation of Trinidad and Tobago), NACC (National Action Cultural Committee Trinidad and Tobago) and SAO (Soca Awards Organization).

The Point Fortin, Trinidad native has soca in her DNA. Her father Superblue, a soca legend who has won the Carnival Road March title nine times and Trinidad Soca Monarch competition seven times, was instrumental in honing Fay Ann's skills as a songwriter and performer. She became a front-liner for the band Invazion led by Naya George and today is an official member of the Asylum band (previously known as "Censation"), founded by her husband and soca royalty Bunji Garlin.

In 2014, Fay Ann continues to tour worldwide and will begin recording her first solo full-length album on VP Records.



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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Kartel Sentenced To Life In Prison, To Serve 35 Years Before Parole



Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator

KINGSTON, Jamaica:
Dancehall artiste, Vybz Kartel, has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams.

Kartel, whose real name is Adidja Palmer, is to serve 35 years before he becomes eligible for parole.

He and the three other men convicted for Lizard’s murder were each given life sentences a short while ago by Justice Lennox Campbell.

Adidja Palmer – LIFE IN PRISON (35 years before eligible for parole)
Shawn ‘Shawn Storm’ Campbell – LIFE IN PRISON (25 years before eligible for parole)
Kahira Jones – LIFE IN PRISON (25 years before eligible for parole)
Andre St John – LIFE IN PRISON (30 years before eligible for parole)

Justice Campbell handed down the sentences after hearing impassioned pleas for leniency from lawyers representing the men.

On March 13, after 65 days of trial, a jury returned a ten to one guilty verdict.

On that same day, a fourth co-accused, Shane Williams was freed by the jury.

The defence has indicated that it will be appealing the verdict.

It has cited discrepancies, inconsistencies, missing data, and mismanagement in the collection of evidence as well as the integrity of the evidence.

Kartel’s attorney, Tom Tavares-Finson says the defence has a fundamental issue with the decision of the trial judge to permit certain phone evidence, given the admission by the police that the instruments were being used after they were taken into their custody.

He says it is very significant that since the matter was heard, the Director of Public Prosecutions has ordered a change in the protocol as to how evidence is to be kept in the department.

According to the attorney, the police have also changed the protocol as to how telephones are to be kept.

Tavares-Finson said the Director of Public Prosecutions, Paula Llewellyn, has also asked prosecutor, Jeremy Taylor, to launch an investigation into the conduct of the investigators in the case.

"I am of the opinion that the department cannot investigate itself and any such investigation should be done by the Independent Commission of Investigations,” Tavares-Finson said.

source ja gleaner

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