Tag Archives: Rasta

Banton Back To Pinellas County Facility Awaiting Re-Sentencing

pinellas

BB Bounced Back To PCJ

Reggae icon Buju Banton has been moved from FCI Miami and is now back at Pinellas County Jail in Clearwater, FL, where he awaits a re-sentencing hearing with trial Judge James Moody, Jron Tuesday, October 30th.

Fans and friends can write to him at the new address below:

Mark Anthony Myrie - Docket # 1519831

CEN-6C2-UN02-04-004

Pinellas County Jail

14400 49th Street North

Clearwater, Florida 33762-2877

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The Caged Bird Sings Of Freedom

The caged bird sings

With a fearful trill

Of things unknown

But longed for still

And his tune is heard

On the distant hill

For the caged bird

Sings of freedom.

Dr. Maya Angelou (from I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings)

Freedom! Photo By: Robert Cooper

Greetings in the name of the Most High…

As you can imagine, the Gargamel Music Family’s entire world was shattered by the outcome of Buju’s trial. Two months have passed and the heartache has not eased at all. We lost a long, hard-fought battle but, alas, this legal war wages on. We remain confident in Buju’s innocence and vigilant in our fight for his ultimate freedom. There is nuff work to be done and the time has come for us to pick up the pieces and march forward in the struggle.

Buju’s strength and resolve throughout this painful ordeal has been nothing short of inspiring. He is a true soldier who continues to stand firm in his beliefs and will not be broken. He earnestly thanks his friends for life — the fans worldwide — for your unyielding support and only asks that you remember him in a positive light and continue to play his music in the days to come.

We encourage you to send uplifting letters to Buju at the address below:

Mark Anthony Myrie - Docket # 1443397

CEN-4C1-UN01-01-001

Pinellas County Jail

14400 49th Street North

Clearwater, Florida 33762-2877

If you feel like you want to top up B’s commissary, include a money order with all of the above information written on it (Mark’s legal name/docket number, etc…) and place it in the envelope with your letter. The guards who open the mail will make sure it’s added onto his account.

SENTENCING & APPEAL

We recently sat down with Buju’s attorney, David Oscar Markus, who took the time to school us on how the sentencing and appeal processes works so we have a better sense of what to expect.

The trial and sentencing judge, James Moody, Jr. still has yet to rule on either of the post trial motions filed by Markus back in February: 1) motion for judgement of acquittal  2) motion for a new trial. Markus filed a separate third motion for bond pending sentencing and appeal that he is also waiting to hear from the Court on.

Buju’s sentencing is currently scheduled for June 23rd. While Judge Moody can take other things into account, he still must abide by the current mandatory minimum drug sentencing guidelines, which based on the three convictions: 1) Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 5 or more kilograms of a substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine  2) knowing and intentionally possessing a firearm in the furtherance of a drug trafficking offense and 3) using the wires to facilitate a drug trafficking offense, bring the mandatory minimum in this case to 15 years.

  • After sentencing, Markus has 14 days to file a notice of appeal. Then he will order the trial transcripts, which will take about 30 days.
  • As soon as Markus gets the transcripts, he has 40 days to file a brief, which will contain his arguments.
  • The government gets 40 days to respond. Markus gets 40 days to reply.
  • Then the Court will decide whether to allow oral argument (where 3 judges listen to the case). Only 10% of all appeal cases are granted this opportunity.
  • After oral argument, the Court usually takes between a month and a year to rule.

Those who wish to donate funds toward the appeal may send a wire transfer to the official Buju Banton Defense Fund set up by his attorney:

Markus & Markus, PLLC
(Defense Fund for Buju Banton)
Citibank, N A
Coral Way Branch
1600 Coral Way
Miami, FL 33145
ABA # 266086554
Account # 9118130472

You may also make a donation via Paypal. Just log in and direct monies to FREEBUJU@gmail.com

THE VOICE OF JAMAICA WILL NOT BE SILENCED!
The Gargamel Music Family remains steadfast in our efforts to promote and preserve the musical legacy of Buju Banton. As he reiterated in his Miami New Times cover story in January of this year, “they can lock the flesh but they can never lock the spirit of Rasta.” We intend to keep Buju’s spirit moving and his voice soaring — through music… And we already have several projects in development:

Buju Banton & Friends: Before The Dawn Concert DVD

We are working out the logistics to make the official DVD of the Before The Dawn Concert available for sale later this year. We are aware of the weak bootleg circulating on the streets and will deal with the culprits accordingly. In the meantime, we just ask that the fans hold on and support the real product when it comes out. It will definitely be worth the wait.

New Buju Banton Studio Album

While the General was out on bail and under house arrest he finished up some tracks for an album co-produced with longtime UK brethren, Blacker Dread. The pair previously worked together on the rousing 2010 anthem “Innocent” featured on Buju’s Grammy-winning album Before The Dawn (Gargamel Music). This new album will drop some time in 2012 on Gargamel Music, Inc.

Buju Banton Live Album

Team Gargamel has collected some amazing live material over the past few years and we plan to release the first Buju Banton live album some time in the near future.

Buju Banton Coffee Table Book

For the past few years we’ve been shooting with esteemed celebrity photographer Jonathan Mannion (Too Bad and Rasta Got Soul album covers) to produce a photography book that visually captures the excitement and frenetic energy of Buju’s live performances along with some exclusive behind-the-scenes moments on the road with the artist and his band.

Gargamel Music Website

At long last, we are in the process of revamping the Gargamel Music website. www.GARGAMELMUSIC.com will be the hub for all things Buju Banton on the web. We will also be selling authentic Buju Banton merchandise, including the Official Free Buju T-Shirts, which are now available in a Limited Edition Red in addition to the original Black and Green color waves. And keep your eyes peeled for the brand new Buju Banton Logo Tee that will be available at relaunch!

The Gargamel Music Family Thanks You For Your Support!

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Irie Jam Radio Hosting Buju Banton Tribute Marathon All Day Today!

Irie Jam 93.5 FM in collaboration with Gargamel Music, Inc. presents “A Day for Buju Banton” tribute marathon. Listeners in New York can tune in to Irie Jam 93.5 FM today, Saturday, October 9, from 1pm-6pm. Fans outside the Tri-State area can log on to www.iriejamfm.com or www.wvipfm.com.

All day, the Irie Jam family will celebrate the stellar body of work that Jamaican music icon, Buju Banton has delivered to the masses throughout his illustrious 20+ year career. The entertainment industry has also come out in support with Stephen MarleyGramps Morgan, Wayne Wonder, John Holt and Tarrus Riley all slated to participate in the program.

Buju Banton has been incarcerated since December 10, 2009. He was entrapped by a paid informant. After many postponements, his trial finally commenced on September 20, 2010. On September 27,  a mistrial was declared because the panel of jurors were split and unable to reach a unanimous verdict. The case will be retried in December 2010.

Meanwhile, Banton’s attorney, David Oscar Markus filed a motion for bond that was heard by Magistrate Judge Anthony E. Porcelli on Wednesday, October 6. Judge Porcelli is expected to render his decision next week.

We urge the public to  support Buju Banton’s  new album, a prophetic masterpiece, Before the Dawn by purchasing a copy today. In addition, we encourage everyone to participate in the Buju Banton Letter Writing Campaign to ensure the US government is keenly aware that the public is monitoring this case closely. Please send your letter today and encourage others to do the same !

THE BUJU BANTON DEFENSE FUND has also been reestablished. We are asking supporters to contribute $10 or more to assist in the next battle in Buju’s court proceedings, which will cost upwards of $200,000 USD.

Funds can be wired to:
Markus & Markus, PLLC
(Defense Fund for Buju Banton)

Citibank, N A
Coral Way Branch
1600 Coral Way
Miami, FL 33145
ABA # 266086554
Account # 9118130472

For international wires the Swift Code is CITIUS33.


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Prophetic New Buju Banton Album Before The Dawn Available For Pre-Sale Now On iTunes & Amazon.com

Gargamel Music, Inc. is pleased to announce that reggae superstar, Buju Banton’s prophetic new album, Before The Dawn will drop in North America (and Japan) on Tuesday, September 28, 2010. The release date for the UK and France has been set for Monday, October 4, however, it will be available in the rest of Europe a few days earlier on Friday, October 1. Fans around the world may pre-order the album now on both iTunes and Amazon.com.

Recorded at Banton’s own Gargamel Music studio in Kingston, Jamaica, Before The Dawn literally pierces the soul with traditional roots on the track “Do Good,”classic rock on the tune “No Smoking At All,” and heartfelt reggae on the especially potent “Battered & Bruised.” The album’s unofficial anthem, “Innocent”strikes a highly personal chord that will resonate deeply with longtime fans.

Physical copies of the album contain a special note written from inside the Pinellas County Jail in Clearwater, Florida, where Buju Banton has been patiently awaiting trial for the past nine months. He will finally have his day in court when the trial, which has been riddled with delays, kicks off on Monday, September 20, in Tampa, Florida.

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Buju Banton Trial Delayed Again… This Time ‘Til September 20th

Banton looks forward to his day in court.

Team Gargamel has learned that Buju Banton‘s day in court has been pushed back for the fifth time! Previously rescheduled to start on September 13th, the long-delayed trial has now been set to begin on Monday, September 20, 2010. The high-profile, highly controversial case will be tried by Assistant U.S. Attorney, James C. Preston, Jr. and presided over by The Honorable Judge James S. Moody, Jr. at the Sam M. Gibbons U.S. District Courthouse in Tampa, Florida.

Represented by esteemed South Florida Super Lawyer, David Oscar Markus, the Reggae icon is looking forward to finally having the opportunity to defend himself. It goes without saying that Banton is also amped up about the forthcoming release of his prophetic new album, Before The Dawn, which will drop just eight days later on Tuesday, September 28th in the United States and Japan. The release date for most of Europe is Monday, October 1st, however, for the UK and France the date will be Friday October 4th.

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Buju Banton Trial Date Rescheduled For September 13th — New Album To Drop On September 28th

After months of senseless delays, Jamaican music star Buju Banton will finally have his day in court. The Honorable Judge James S. Moody, Jr. has reset the trial start date for Monday, September 13, 2010 at the Sam M. Gibbons US District Courthouse in Tampa, Florida. This is the fourth time the trial has been rescheduled so only time will tell if it will actually convene as planned.

In other Buju Banton news, Gargamel Music, Inc. is prepping the release of his ninth studio album, Before The Dawn, which is set to drop in North America on Tuesday, September 28, 2010. The 10 powerful tracks that comprise this very special project are some of the more prophetic songs written by Banton since his extraordinary entry into the music business over twenty years ago.

Recorded mostly at his Gargamel Music studio in Kingston, Jamaica, Before The Dawn literally pierces the soul with traditional roots, easy rock and especially heartfelt reggae. The album’s unofficial anthem “Innocent” strikes a highly personal chord that will resonate deeply with longtime Buju Banton fans.

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Banton Moved Back To General Population–Team Gargamel Preps To Fight For His Life

Buju Prepares For The Fight Of His Life

The Gargamel Music Family is pleased to confirm that music icon, Buju Banton, has indeed been moved back to general population at the Pinellas County Jail after spending over 30 days in maximum security for the seemingly minor infraction of giving his food away to a fellow inmate.

The move has lifted Buju’s spirits tremendously as he is able to move around a bit more freely, plus he has access to hot water and other simple provisions that were not readily available in South Division aka “max.”

Buju wants his fans to know that all of the guards on his floor are treating him with the utmost respect and he also says he is receiving so much mail from around the world that the jail is even considering giving him his own mail bag! Buju is thankful for all the uplifting correspondence and promises to write back to his supporters as much as he can.

Well wishers can continue to hail up the boss at the new updated address below:

Mark Anthony Myrie - Docket # 1387202

*CEN-4C3-UN03-04-002

Pinellas County Jail

14400 49th Street North

Clearwater, Florida 33762-2877

Please note *new housing info, which must be included in address to ensure delivery.

In the meantime, Buju remains prayerful and optimistic as Team Gargamel, led by esteemed criminal defense attorney, David Oscar Markus, prepare to fight for his liberty and his life. The trial date is presently still set for Monday, June 21st at the Sam M. Gibbons Federal US District Courthouse in Tampa, Florida.

The high-profile, highly controversial case will be tried by Assistant US Attorney, James C. Preston, Jr. and presided over by The Honorable Judge James S. Moody, Jr.

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Why Was Buju Banton Thrown Into Maximum Security For Giving Food To Fellow Inmate!?!?

pinellasEarly Monday morning, the legal team representing Jamaican music icon, Buju Banton, was forced to file an emergency motion with the US District Court (Middle District) in Tampa, Florida on behalf of their client. Last Thursday, Banton (aka Mark Myrie), who has been incarcerated at Pinellas County Jail (PCJ) in nearby Clearwater since early January, was placed in maximum security for 30 days for giving away his food to a fellow inmate. After several futile attempts to negotiate directly with the jail (and the prosecutor, Assistant US Attorney, James Preston) to have Buju moved back to general population, Team Banton felt compelled to file the Emergency Motion for Bond or for Alternative Relief.

Lead defense attorney, David Oscar Markus, believes this excessive punishment is simply the latest in a long line of subtle yet exacting harassment endured by the Reggae star since his transfer to PCJ. Immediately upon his arrival at the jail, Banton, a devout Rasta who follows a strict ital diet, filled out the required paperwork to apply for vegetarian meals, but all of his requests were ignored. In addition to his visible weight loss, Banton has been inexplicably moved from floor to floor of the jail — 5 times at last count. And his cell is customarily tossed by guards (read: searched at random), among other things.

According to reports from former inmates who were interviewed for a PCJ resource site about (but unaffiliated with) the jail, South Division or “max,” is for non-sentenced (usually dangerous) felons. However, Central Division, the minimum security area where Banton was previously housed, at least has a “microwave and hot water” and is “very clean and neat compared to max.”

And here’s a Typical Meal Schedule & Sample Menu at Pinellas County Jail:

MEALS
Breakfast – 3:00am
Lunch – 10:00am
Dinner – 4:00pm

MENU
Shank & Cereal
Meat & Gravy
Macaroni & Ham Bits

COMMISSARY
Inmates may order from the commissary twice a week.

Below is an excerpt of the motion filed by Mr. Markus:

EMERGENCY MOTION FOR BOND OR FOR ALTERNATIVE RELIEF

Because Mr. Myrie had the audacity to share his food with a hungry inmate, he was sent out of general population and into the maximum security wing of the prison. When Mr. Myrie told the officer that he did not believe that he was doing anything wrong, he was told that he could contest her finding, but if he lost, he would be sent to the hole. Knowing how that would turn out, Mr. Myrie waived his opportunity to contest the hearing and was sent to maximum security for the next 30 days — the most critical 30 days of Mr. Myrie’s life as he prepares for trial.

Since being incarcerated in December 2009, Mr. Myrie has lost about 40 pounds and has not been provided with a diet in accordance with his religious views. Although he has been able to make appropriate meals in the kitchen with food he purchased from the commissary, he does not have the ability in his new maximum security wing. In addition, the living areas and kitchen are unsanitary, and the showers do not work. Because he is being treated inhumanely, we have no choice but to file this motion for bond.

The decision to then place Mr. Myrie in a maximum security wing weeks before his upcoming trial suggest that something else is going on. Counsel for Mr. Myrie was advised that he would remain in maximum security for at least 30 days, and that there was “nothing we can do about it.” In sum, Mr. Myrie is now in a maximum security wing for caring enough to offer food to another inmate who was hungry, and genuinely believing there was nothing wrong in doing so.

Transferring Mr. Myrie to maximum security is not only affecting him (Mr. Myrie’s mental and physical health has been rapidly deteriorating) but it is affecting undersigned’s counsel’s ability to prepare for trial. For example, this week when counsel attempted to visit Mr. Myrie, counsel was required to wait over two hours until he could see Mr. Myrie.

Many of the people that we spoke to at the facility tried to help us and agreed that this “violation” was extremely minor. We were told, however, that once the decision was made, it was not going to be overturned.

Team Banton was granted the emergency hearing and will appear in Tampa Federal Court on Friday, March 26th at 10am before Magistrate Judge Anthony E. Porcelli.

In the meantime… Bujumania!

Banton Fights The Power! Photo: Jonathan Mannion

FREE BUJU! RADIO/TV/WEB CAMPAIGN
Listeners request and selectors continue to play as much Buju Banton music as possible, especially the uplifting new single “Optimistic Soul,” which officially dropped online, March 23rd. Multimedia programmers should add the accompanying music video into rotation on local, national and international TV outlets and web sites. Plan a special Buju Banton Tribute program for the weekend of April 16th-18th (just before the trial start date of Monday, April 19th).

Swap your Facebook/Twitter profile pic to the official Free Buju! logo or your favorite photo of Buju Banton. Bombard the web with inspirational Buju Banton lyrics, quotes, interviews, videos and other memorabilia. Stay optimistic.

WRITE TO THE GENERAL
Continue writing letters of encouragement to Buju Banton:

Mark Anthony Myrie - Docket # 1387202

*SD-5F-POD03-01-002

Pinellas County Jail

14400 49th Street North

Clearwater, Florida 33762-2877

Please note *new housing info, which must be included in address to ensure delivery.

FAST & PRAY
The Gargamel Music Family will begin our collective fast on April 1st. Join us in solidarity!


~ GET DOWN WITH THE MOVEMENT ~
Official Free Buju! T-Shirts
We Support Buju Banton
Tampa Bay Supports Buju Banton
Buju Banton ♫It’s Not An Easy Road♫ Supporting Him In His Struggles
We Demand A Fair Trial For Buju Banton
Buju Banton On Facebook
Buju Banton On MySpace
Buju Banton On YouTube

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Digital Release Date Set For Heartfelt New Buju Banton Single “Optimistic Soul”

Gargamel Music is pleased to announce that the digital release date for the new Buju Banton single “Optimistic Soul” has officially been set for March 23rd in North America. The third official single (following “Magic City” and “A Little Bit Of Sorry”) from Banton’s critically acclaimed Rasta Got Soul album, “Optimistic Soul” is a heartfelt and timely homage that underscores the power of positive thought.

The digital single will  also feature an instrumental of the moving track. An accompanying music video for “Optimistic Soul,” shot by director Zach Wolfe during the final days of Buju’s Rasta Got Soul US Tour, will begin circulating in the coming weeks.

In other Buju Banton music news, the one-off single, “Time And A Place” (John John) on the scorching  Coming In From The Cold riddim has skyrocketed to #1 on both the New York Top 30 Reggae Chart and South Florida Top 25 Reggae Chart. The album  Rasta Got Soul is currently #2 on both the New York Top 20 Albums Chart and the South Florida Top 15 Albums Chart.

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Buju Banton Nominated For Trio Of International Reggae & World Music Awards (IRAWMA)

The Gargamel Music family is thrilled to announce that Jamaican music icon, Buju Banton, has been nominated for a trio of 2010 International Reggae & World Music Awards (IRAWMA): Recording Artist Of The Year, Best Album for Rasta Got Soul (Gargamel Music) and Best Crossover Song for “Can’t Be My Lover, his recent hit collaboration with R&B star, John Legend.

Banton and the Gargamel Music family sincerely thank IRAWMA founder Mr. Ephraim Martin, the entire IRAWMA staff, and of course, the fans for the love and continued support at this time. The 29th Annual International Reggae & World Music Awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, May 2nd at York College Performing Arts Center in Jamaica (Queens), New York.

Fans may cast ballots online at the official awards website!

~ !!CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR BUJU BANTON NOW!!~

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