Dancehall Artist Tommy Lee Denied Entry In Dominica. Claims Of Arrest, Denied Food And Water Plus Serious Medical Condition From Sleeping On The Cell Concrete Left Him Hospitalized.
The Dominica government has broken its silence regarding the deportation of a Jamaican dancehall artiste, Tommy Lee Sparta, saying the action had been taken in the interest of public safety.
The singer and two other members of his group were denied entry into the island on Sunday night when they arrived to perform in a show in Portsmouth.
Their lawyer, Tehani Behanzin, said that the deportation issue would not be challenged in Dominica, but that the matter could go before the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) that last year ruled Barbados had been in violation of the rights of Jamaican national, Sanique Myrie, when it denied her entry into that island in defiance of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy (CSME) that allows for the free movement of goods, services, labour and skills.
In a brief statement issues late Monday, the Ministry of National Security defended the decision to detain the men on arrival here.
“Pursuant to advice received government had concerns for public safety. The decision to deny entry was intended as a preemptive action and also to provide an opportunity to exhaust all efforts to clarify information received,” the statement said.
Sparta, whose real name is Leroy Russel, left the country on Monday. He had earlier written on his Facebook page that he is a CARICOM citizen and questioned the move by the Dominican immigration authorities.
The Dominica Association of Evangelical Churches (DAEC) had been calling for a boycott of the concert, here, featuring Sparta, whom it claims glorifies Satan during his performances.
A spokesman for the group, Bishop Michael Daniel, speaking on the state-owned DBS radio Monday, said he was pleased that the concert did not occur as had been planned.
He said while the churches played no role in the detention of Sparta, their prayers had been answered.
Dominica has denied entry to the controversial Jamaican dancehall artiste, Tommy Lee Sparta, who was due to perform at a show here on Sunday night, amidst protest by some religious groups.
Sparta, who uses the stage name “Uncle Demon”, is due to headline a concert in Portsmouth, north of here.
There has been no official statement by the Immigration authorities, but the main organiser of the concert, Cabral Douglas, confirmed that the artiste had been denied entry.
Media reports noted that Sparta and at least three members of his entourage were denied entry by Immigration officials when they arrived on board a private jet for the concert.
In a statement posted on his Facebook page, Sparta said he is a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) citizen and questioned the move by the Dominican immigration authorities.
“So them don’t respect Jamaicans? What them a deal wid? Sparta a go protest right about now!” he wrote.
The Dominica Association of Evangelical Churches (DAEC) has been calling for a boycott of the concert, here, featuring Sparta, whom it claims glorifies Satan during his performances.
“The Church further asks all Dominicans to take a stand and boycott the upcoming concert, thus signalling a strong message to all that we will not support anything that promotes violence and lawlessness in our beautiful country,” the DAEC said in a statement.
“The DAEC, in solidarity with the pastors, calls upon all evangelicals in Dominica to move in support of this march, as we stand against the powers of darkness and declare that Dominica is in the hands of the Great God Jehovah who has rule over the Universe,” the statement said.
Days after being deported back to Jamaica, dancehall artiste Tommy Lee Sparta's team is now speaking out against how the Dominican government handled the situation.
Online reports have also stated that several Dominicans took to the streets to protest against the government's decision to refuse entry to the artiste. Tommy Lee Sparta, who was set to perform in Portsmouth on Sunday night, was denied entry when the private jet he was travelling in landed in Dominica on Sunday evening.
Several residents turned up outside the police station where the artiste was being held. One irate resident stated that the people of Dominica will be there for Tommy Lee regardless of what happens. Another young man had a placard around his neck with the words 'Free the Boss'.
"Free Tommy Lee. Free Tommy Lee. Watch everybody in this spot, everybody in this spot is for Tommy Lee," he said, while showcasing a section of the crowd.
Others pleaded with the artiste to open the bus window as he was being transported to the hospital. Some could be heard questioning the authorities as to why they had locked up the artiste like a criminal.
Though subsequent reports cited that the artiste and his entourage were arrested after they reportedly refused to return to jet, Keona Williams, director of Guzu Musiq, has denied these claims.
"He did not refuse to leave that night. He arrived in Dominica on a private jet. Based on the time, he was unable to get clearance for landing if the pilot returned," she said.
She went on to say that a stamp of denial or written document if no entry was requested by the artiste, but was refused.
"We reported this to the United Nations headquarters that the CARICOM nationals were arrested, denied food and water, medication and rights to legal representation. This changed when the artiste developed serious medical conditions from the ghetto concrete floor accommodation provided. He was consequently moved to the Marigot Hospital emergency room because a metal from his broken leg developed blood clots, cramps and muscle spams," Williams said.
With more Dominicans taking to social media to blast the government, Williams assured fans that the artiste has no history of disrupting public safety.
"He has performed in Russia, Canada, Costa Rica, France, Italy, Germany and several other countries. None of these countries had security concerns. Based on online feedback and public outcry, to view him as a threat of the safety of an entire nation is ridiculous."