For the folks looking for someone to blame then blame Buju himself, he messed up indeed, read the transcript as his own words defiled him.
As taken from the transcripts themselves in the conversation between himself and the informant (Buju didn't know it at the time) he seems clearly interested in doing business, get the full 62 paged document here: http://www.tampabay.com/specials/2010/PDFs/banton.pdf he referred to snitches and that he didn't event trust the privacy of the very conversation he was having then with the man named CS.
YOUR FAVOURITE Buju song? Mine is Sudan. No other artiste has sung with so much feeling of a country's pain. Today, who will sing for Buju? There's been almost a child-like belief by supporters here and in the diaspora who convinced themselves that he would've been acquitted to return home to a hero's welcome and to live happily ever after.
If the story had gone that way, I would have been as delighted as every Jamaican who has revelled in his awesome talent - the sensitivity of his lyrics and his ability to hold the audience with riveting performances... but life doesn't always go the way we want. Buju might be one of our beloved icons, but in the eyes of the American legal system, cocaine talk ain't funny. He messed up and when you mess up in their jurisdiction, you pay for it.
I don't know how deep ran the cool and controlled exterior which "the Gargamel" exhibited after the announcement of the guilty verdict on Tuesday afternoon. There was a classiness in the wording of his statement (here abbreviated). "Our life and our destiny are sometimes pre-destined... I fought the good fight..." The cold fact, however, is that, despite his fight, our hero is likely to do time, unless some really cataclysmic upset occurs at the sentencing.
All things equal, he has more years ahead of him. He is now 37 years old. In another era, he'd be well on the way to middle age. Today, even while extreme youth is revered, at 37 he is not over the hill yet. What must be in the minds of those who now contemplate his future? How will he survive those years, and is this the end of him, as far as a career goes? What a cruel twist of fate to get the Grammy and not be on the outside to reap the rewards!
On Tuesday night, I went home from a very long day's demands to find on the TV a programme produced by National Geographic and presented on HBO, highlighting life in America's prisons. "It is not an easy road", Buju sang in another time, and prison is not easy, no matter how clean and shining everything appears from the outside looking in.
Floors were scrubbed and highly polished, walls were clean, prisoners wore uniforms which seemed to be in good condition. The meals, it was said, wouldn't rate high in nutritional content, but at least they were regular. Beyond the neat and tidy façade, however, there were the stories of fear and intimidation, injury and even violent death, despite the watchfulness of correctional officers. The worst thing about "doing time", it was admitted, is the mind-numbing dreariness of the daily routine and how easy it is to lose one's humanity. Buju will live to regret the silliness of his defence that his conversations about drug-dealing were all a joke. Pity he couldn't have remembered the hometown saying: "What is joke to you is death to me."
It was in that context that I thought of what could lie ahead for this talented son of ours who, in all probability, will become yet another statistic, another caged bird with no occasion to sing. Some will try to tame that jaunty Jamaican walk. It's nothing to joke about. It is too late to contemplate the alternative: "Guilty, with explanation."
The outpourings of heartfelt wishes, the prayers from home and abroad for miraculous deliverance from the likely darkness ahead are well-placed, but reality has to be faced. Time to stop the delusion. It isn't the gays who've sent him to prison, despite all the Boom-Bye-Bye controversy. It wasn't because he's a black man from Jamaica. The sad truth is - our beloved hero messed up. We all wish it wasn't so.
I cannot understand why so many people continue to display such blatant hypocrisy in their continued support for Buju. Most of those who support him continue to think that he was set up by certain interest groups. Few consider the possibility that he is actually guilty.
Unlike Jamaica, the American justice system, with all of its imperfections, does work. We need to grow up. Justice must be for all, including reggae stars like Buju.
Michael A Dingwall