Buju Banton is getting a free pass from reggae fans, according to Trinidad’s security minister.

Buju Banton and the head of the Trinidad Police Department.
Buju Banton and the head of the Trinidad Police Department.

The Trinidadian government seems to be talking out of two sides of its mouth. After the country’s police force raided the hotel room of Buju Banton yesterday, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith apologized to the Jamaican reggae artiste and called the whole thing a big mix up. However, Trinidad’s security minister, Stuart Young, is now saying that the police did nothing wrong.

According to Stuart, it is standard protocol for Trinidad and Tobago’s police to keep a close watch on convicted felons who are permitted into the twin island for work purposes. Stuart is the one who issued Buju Banton the special permit to visit the island.

“Buju Banton had to be given special permission to visit Trinidad because of his criminal pass. I granted that permission. Granting of permissions to people with criminal pass is contingent on us knowing their whereabouts. So police know what hotel Buju Banton was staying in and they had all right to check and make sure nothing illegal was in the room,” Stuart told 18 Karat Reggae.

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The security minister said while he understands why reggae fans, especially Jamaicans, are angry about the treatment of Buju Banton, they must understand that he is a man who less than six months ago was in prison on drug charges,

“Reggae fans have the option of treating Buju Banton like a saint but when you are responsible for the reduction of crime in a country, you don’t have that luxury. We permitted a man with a criminal pass to work in the country and we have to treat it like such,” Stuart concluded.

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Buju says he has gotten over the search. The deejay says he feels no ill will towards the police force and he will be ready to perform tonight.

“I will not let this issue affect my love for the Trinidadian people or me as I move forward to have a wonderful night tomorrow. Trini we’re still on track love to my Trini family,” Buju Banton said yesterday.

Buju Banton was released from an American prison in December of last year after serving a ten year sentence on drug charges. He is scheduled to perform in Trinidad before continuing on to Barbados as part of his Long Walk to Freedom tour.

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