Following news that Vybz Kartel and his co-accused had been given the green light to appeal their murder conviction and life sentence, ‘Gaza fans’, particularly those on social media, were sent into an immediate frenzy as they used the platform to rejoice the possiblity of freedom for their beloved ‘Worl Boss’.
However, entertainers and industry insiders have been warning fans against ‘jumping the gun’, stating that while the news regarding the incarcerated deejay is a welcomed one, fans should be careful not to get their hopes up.
Dr Donna Hope, cultural analyst and senior lecturer at the Institute of Caribbean Studies and the Reggae Studies Unit, said the court’s decision is a good start for Kartel and his legal team. However, she explained that the step is but a small move in a lengthy appeal process.
“An appeal is a lengthy and costly process, and there are no guarantees,” she said. “It is time for the media to ensure that the public has good information about the way the system works so they do not have unrealistic expectations and go into a panic.”
Popular selector Foota Hype agreed with Hope. He said that while fans of the deejay should not read too much into news of an appeal, their excitement is a natural reaction. He, however, said he just wants them to be realistic in the midst of their celebrations.
“A lot of people don’t understand what an appeal is. It doesn’t mean you are free. It just means you are eligible for a retrial. Court talk and street talk a two different thing.”
Based on the latter, the selector refused to state whether he believes the appeal would work in Kartel’s favour.
“It’s not for me to think, enuh, because how the justice system works is they are going to base their arguments off evidence and what is in front of them,” Foota Hype told THE STAR.
Female entertainer Spice said that while she understands that the process will be a long and winding road, she remains optimistic and is encouraging Vybz Kartel fans to think positive. “It is no secret seh a Gaza mi seh straight, so mi excited bout this, and I know all Gaza fans are excited as well. Not because it (the appeal) don’t necessarily mean freedom, it is good news, and mi embrace it nonetheless,” she said.