by Jodee Brown
Embattled Dancehall star, Vybz Kartel has called for fans and others top stop making threats against journalists and members of the public in the aftermath of his March murder conviction in the Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams trial.
Since the verdict and subsequent life sentence on April 3, several threats have been made against journalists due to their coverage of the trial, as well as telecommunications giant, Digicel following voice notes implicating Kartel in the lead up to when the murder allegedly took place. Nationwide News reporter, Abka Fitz-Henley received some of said threats after playing some of the voice notes obtained by the local radio station following the trial.
An editor at the Jamaica Observer faced similar treatment after it was alleged he was the author a story that broke Sunday citing an unnamed police source as saying Kartel had given them information on wanted men in his native Portmore in exchange for the possible dismissal of his murder charge, a claim the deejay’s lawyer later refuted.
In a statement released Tuesday morning, Kartel said persons making these threats should cease and desist, insisting they are not making his situation any easier.
“I appeal to any misguided individual or individuals who may think it appropriate to seek to threaten or intimidate anyone to stop it,” he said. “Such action is not helping me or my fellow appellants and is playing into the hands of the police and others who are seeking to discredit me and prejudice the fair hearing of my appeal.”
Speaking out for the second time since his conviction, Kartel also said he harbors no negativity towards those involved in his trial.
“During my sentencing hearing, my attorney, Tom Tavares-Finson, indicated to the court that I hold no ill-will to any of the persons involved in my trial, neither the police, prosecutors, executives from Digicel and certainly not any member of the media who covered my trial in a manner which exposed the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case for all the world to see,” he said.
“I reiterate the position, I hold no ill-will to anyone who was involved in my trial, and I put my faith in the judicial system and the appeal process on which we have now embarked. In the meantime I thank my family, friends and fans who continue to support and have faith in me.”
Meanwhile, Kartel’s family has spoken of their own fears following Sunday’s revelation about the deejay’s alleged offer to rat out criminals in exchange of freedom. The story, which also revealed Kartel’s alleged ties to the Klansman Gang, as well as more incriminating video evidence in the Williams murder trial, has the family concerned about possible retribution.
“This is endangering the lives of Adidja Palmer’s family, his siblings, and his girlfriend,” Maureen Nelson, Kartel’s eldest sister, told the Jamaica Observer. “When a news like this come on the radio and we don’t know if it is credible, we don’t know the source… and they don’t think about how it is affecting our lives.”
“Everybody is now crying. We thought that when he got sentenced to life in prison it would be over,” she continued. “We are locked up in the house right now. We have fears of reprisals and I don’t even know how John public will react to us.”
His mother, Teresa Palmer expressed her anger at the police’s revelations in the article and other news outlets, saying they had ulterior motives when divulging all this information long after the trial’s conclusion.
“When him a go come and a seh how much people Kartel kill and that never come out in the trial, him not doing him job,” she told the newspaper. “Why now when dem done tell lie seh him kill man and dem no find no body and police tamper with the evidence and give him life sentence dem a go seh all these things?” Palmer asked. “Why are all these things coming out now?”