Positive ‘VYBZ’ in Gaza City 2014

Up-and-coming singjay Javian
‘Sikka Rhymes’ belts out
some lyrics inside Vytek
Recording Studios in Block 4 Waterford, St Catherine.

The word ‘Gaza’ is scrawled on everything — from a cook shop to a mural
bearing Jamaica’s National Heroes. It is a show of widespread support
for jailed deejay Vybz Kartel who grew up in the neighbourhood.
 

When the Splash team visited Waterford, a group of young men on
Block 5 were enjoying a game of ludo while aspiring artistes rehearsed
songs. No Games, a collaboration between Kartel and Gaza Slim (one of
his protégés) blared from a nearby residence.

“Living in Waterford has inspired my decision to pursue music. Not only
have I seen an’ experience a lot here, but this is the homeland of the
‘Wurl Boss’, Vybz Kartel. He along with others help pave the way for
artistes like myself,” said Romaine Pottinger, a deejay known as Tussan
Gaza.

Marcus Dancer McDonald, operator of five-month-old VyTek Recording Studios, was busy ‘voicing’ several young acts.

“I open my doors to any good talents and Waterford is overflowing with
that. The youths here use music as an avenue to escape any negativity
that they may encounter,” McDonald explained.

Most Waterford youth claim that since Kartel’s incarceration nearly
three years ago, they have been victims of police harassment.

“On (Kartel’s) court days is like a campaign, they terrorise us. We are
not saying that they should not do their job, but we hate the
intimidation. We are not bad men… we just want to do music,” Pottinger
explained.

His sentiments were echoed by the circle of Kartel supporters around
him, who say they have been hauled into police vehicles and driven
around for hours before being released.

“Kartel is not that evil as society makes it seem. They pushed him
against a corner and he fights back. It’s not an inborn concept, is
about survival,” said upcoming poet and Waterford resident Richard
Palmer (no relation to Vybz Kartel).

Eighty-seven-year-old Dorothy Bailey lives next to Kartel’s childhood home. She recalled his antics.

“Oh Lord, I used to flog him whenever he would cut school… something
that is common among young boys. However, he excelled academically and
isn’t easily fooled,” she said. “All those things that I hear that
‘Addi’ do is hard to believe; I don’t know him as that type of person.”

They are confident an 11-member jury will find him
not guilty. Until then, they anxiously wait on the Gaza strip for their
hero’s return.

Kartel is charged jointly with fellow entertainer Shawn ‘Shawn Storm’
Campbell, Kahira Jones, Shane Williams and André St John for the August
2011 murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams at Kartel’s home in Havendale, St
Andrew.

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