Embattled dancehall reggae artist Tommy Lee Sparta was barred by police from performing at Reggae Sumfest 2016 in Montego Bay.
In a telephone interview with 18 Karat Reggae, Senior Superintendent Steve McGregor, head of the St James police division, said the entertainer was fully aware that he would not be performing.
“We informed the promoters of the international reggae festival that Tommy Lee would not be performing, and they complied. His management team was also informed. The show went on without him and it went well, as expected,” he said.
SSP McGregor said that the artiste is currently restricted from performing in the Area One Division, which comprises St James, Trelawny, Westmoreland and Hanover.
“That entertainer’s name is linked to the ongoing violence in Flanker and I personally warned him that he is not to perform in the division. It is unsafe for him and for the patrons. As a matter of fact, he is to come in to the station and be interviewed by the police in relation to the violence,” the senior officer said.
“I told him to bring along his attorney if he desires,” he continued.
Just this week alone, 10 persons have been gunned down in separate incidents across the parish of St James, Jamaica.
The controversial deejay issued a statement condemning the police’s action, saying they breached his constitutional rights.
“How can the police prevent a citizen from engaging legitimate employment! My attorney-at-law will be filing action in the Supreme Court for financial compensation! I was ready to explode tonight,” the statement read.
Yesterday, a member of Tommy Lee Sparta’s team told 18 Karat Reggae that he has been harassed for the last three years by the police.
“This has been happening from 2012, but it has been getting worse. He has been refused permits to host his birthday parties, and sometimes he is just picked up by the police and spends a night or a few hours in custody,” she said.
Tommy Lee Sparta, whose real name is Leroy Russell, is from Montego Bay. He also apologised to fans for his no-show at Dancehall Night which took place at Catherine Hall.
“To my loyal fans and friends, I regret to inform you that I will not be performing at Reggae Sumfest tonight because the police high command has refused me permission on stage.”