CDARI director says Sizzla should not be allowed into St Lucia
By Vina Frederick
For sometime now Jamaica’s Buju Banton and Sizzla have been under For sometime now Jamaica’s Buju Banton and Sizzla have been under attack from gay rights lobbyists in the United Kingdom and United States because their music has been blamed for promoting violence against homosexuals. The lyrics of eight other artistes have also been examined including Beenie Man, Elephant Man and Bounty Killer after complaints from gay rights group Outrage.
In St Lucia, come May 5 Sizzla will be in concert at the Gaiety Grounds. This has not gone down well with the Caribbean Drug Abuse Research Institute director, Dr Marcus Day who requested that the commissioner of police should pay particular attention to this “delicate legal matter”, and called on the police to warn Gaiety Productions and TriStar Promotions—the organizers of the concert—that they may be guilty of aiding and abetting criminal offenses by promoting and giving a platform to Sizzla, especially if he performs any of his violently homophobic songs on May 5.
“If I got up and said I do not like gay people because I think what they do is disgusting and they shouldn’t do it, then, no problem,” said Dr Day. “But this is 2007. This is not 1000BC during the time of Moses and Old Testament biblical plagues. We are passed that point now, civilization has moved on. This Old Testament fire and brimstone foolishness has to stop. I think it is time for these guys to realize that they live in a world. They do not live in Jamaica alone.”
He continued: “We decry the rise of violence. We say all kinds of things about what’s going on with our youth. We make a lot of noise about cultural penetration from North America. I got no love for the ghetto cultural North America and I do not think it has any place here. I lament for our children who go off to the United States to university and come back a changed people because they live in a place that subjugates black people.”
Dr Day said that Jamaica is just as bad and this is one of the very negative fallouts of CSME—the Jamaican culture being brought to St Lucia with all the violent baggage. He added that Jamaica’s whole history of slavery and colonialism was so much more extreme and violent than what we experienced here in St Lucia, and to have that brought here as popular culture is unacceptable. He then spoke specifically about the Sizzla performance.
“This guy should not be allowed a visa,” said Dr Day. “This guy should not be allowed to enter St Lucia as far as I am concerned. These guys who sing this kind of crap should learn that if they want to do that in Jamaica and the Jamaica government doesn’t want to do anything about it that’s fine, but when they come out in the real world where people are supposed to be civilized then that stuff doesn’t cut it.”
Caption: Dr Marcus Day is not amused by Sizzla’s lyrics
A small cross section of St.Lucians were asked their opinion on Sizzla’s pcoming performance in St.Lucia, here are some of the responses:
Question: "What is your opinion on the opposition to Sizzla performance in St Lucia?"
Niesa Jules, sales person, Grand Riviere: I know that a lot of St Lucians are not going to be in agreement that the Sizzla show should be cancelled. People love Sizzla. It appears to me that now homosexuals want to have more rights than everybody else. If they were really concerned about the lyrics of that one song, then they can try talking to the organizers so that that song will not be used in his performance. I mean, who do they really think they are demanding that the concert be cancelled? There’s so much more that I want to say, this is just outrageous!
Miguel Charlemagne, entrepreneur, Choiseul: First of all homosexuality, among with so many other things, is against the bible. I know that people will be quick to say what about the other sins. The last time Sizzla came here he gave St Lucia a free show, all the money he made, he donated that to charity. He gave everything back! When Sizzla has his shows he does not promote violence. We could use this as an opportunity to put a stop to violence because his lyrics don’t talk about violence, more about love, honoring your mother and things of that sort. The people who attend the show could learn from him. I don’t think that they should stop him from coming here. St Lucia is not a gay nation.
Terry Franklin, writer, Reduit: I think we are way too sensitive in 2007. We jump at every single thing and then everyone just acts like they’re so shocked that something is happening. Right now I think there are homosexuals controlling the media. If the guy doesn’t like gay people then he has a right to hate gays. I don’t know about you but I always prefer to know who hates me. In Trinidad and Tobago the pastors are upset because they don’t support the fact that Elton John, an openly gay man, will be performing for Jazz.
Now some people are upset because someonewho dislikes gays is going to be performing in St Lucia. Come on now, just let the people live their lives. If they want to hate its up to them if they choose to embrace homosexuality that’s their decision. There’s nothing that says that every one has to support or be against anything. At the end of the day its God’s judgement. I think that all these people that are making noise just need some thing to do with their lives.
Roland Andrews, telecommunications clerk, Bisee: Any performer who is going to come into our country and people have reason to believe that he is going to incite more violence than we already have, especially to one of the minority groups, homosexuals, I’m going to be against them coming into my country. singing songs with lyrics that tell people to shoot other people for no reason is wrong. If that is what Sizzla is going to do then I don’t really care if he can’t perform here. We don’t need anymore violence, regardless of who is involved.
Vera Louis, bank teller, Marchand: Honestly, I just think that all gay people should just be put in some community for only gay people. Then they wouldn’t have a problem with every single thing and the artistes wouldn’t have any reason to sing these songs. There is no reason that Sizzla shouldn’t perform in St Lucia. Most of Sizzla’s songs are mellow and more on the conscious level than anything else. Darnel Edward, accounts clerk, Castries: Well, I love Sizzla and I’m looking forward to seeing him perform. I really think that if we encourage this kind of thing, then its going to get out of hand. It’s not going to stop there. They’re just going to protest over any artiste that is scheduled to come down to St Lucia that’s not to their taste. People are entitled to their opinion and I respect that. But you really don’t see me complaining when gay cruise ships come into the harbor.
Nathan Johnny, bartender, Castries: It really doesn’t affect me whether they cancel the show or not. I think that they really need to evaluate the kind of artistes that they want to keep bringing into St Lucia. They always draw the same kinds of rowdy crowds and someone always ends up getting hurt. I think they should really stop promoting these kinds of events and focus on promoting performers who don’t encourage violence.
Percy Deterville, vendor, Castries: I don’t think that the show should be canceled. I don’t know what these people are trying to do. Did you know that Sizzla has roots right here in St Lucia? His father, I think, was from here so that makes him one of us. We’re all Caribbean people and the lyrics that he sings; he says what we want to say but can’t because he’s the one in the spotlight. I think that artistes like Sizzla are the only voices we have. If they don’t speak out then nobody will. I don’t support him saying that homosexuals should be shot but if he doesn’t like the whole homosexual vibe then he’s not the only one.