News Americas, TAMPA, FL, Fri. June 24, 2011: Hours after a judge sentenced Jamaican Grammy-winning reggae singer Buju Banton to 10 years in prison, fans flocked to his Facebook page to offer their support.
“We Are With You.. one love,” wrote Gran-desha Desha, reflecting the thoughts of many who took to the Internet to voice their concern after the verdict by U.S. District Judge James S. Moody.
“Nuff love for the Gargamel…awaiting your return,” added Ebony’ Joanne Watts. “Keep ya head up, mind focus on The Most High…only HIM can bring you through…Jah Guide and Bless.”
Others voiced sadness like Carolyn F. Winston who posted: “My heart is heavy with sadness for you and your family” while still others like Jeanette Connor and Jay Clark insisted it was an attack on the Caribbean and Jamaican music scene.
Banton, 38, whose real name is Mark Myrie, was jailed to the lowest sentence legally allowed for his role in a large cocaine trafficking deal in 2009. Judge Moody threw out a gun conviction, which would have added another five years to the minimum sentence.
Banton’s attorney, David Markus, said with time already served and good behavior, he could be out in six years.
Banton thanked family, fans and supporters from around the world who flooded the court file with letters of support.
“The days that lie ahead are filled with despair, but I have courage and grace and I’m hopeful, and that is sufficient to carry me through,” he said in the statement, which was read by Markus. “The man is not dead. Don’t call him a ghost.”
Markus says he plans to appeal the sentencing.