St. Lucia Government deniess work permit for Reggae Artist Vybes Kartel

ST. LUCIA – In deciding whether or not to grant work permits to non national artistes to perform in the Hot FM promoted supreme weekend show, the St. Lucian Government deliberately refrained from rushing to judgement by establishing an adhoc committee to discuss the pros and cons of the request. The committee was provided with the following terms of reference:

– To undertake comprehensive research of the history of the artistes, (particularly the controversial artiste Vybz Kartel) to include, listening to related musical repertoire.

– To solicit views and opinions of key institutions and organizations in the country.

– To review the rationale given for the denial of work permits for the artiste in neighbouring countries and

– To determine the general impact of the artistes’ performance on the population, particularly the youth, amidst consistent calls for higher ethical standards and morals from a wide range of persons and institutions in our Society.

The committee’s deliberations were undertaken with the understanding, that notwithstanding its findings and recommendations, the ultimate decision would rest with the Minister for Labour, Information and Broadcasting.

Having looked carefully at the significant amount of information presented, and considering the views and opinions of the many individuals and institutions as well as available options, the Government of St. Lucia through the Ministry of Labour, Information and Broadcasting has decided not to grant work permits to Mr. Adidja Azim Palmer otherwise known as Vybz Kartel for performances at the Hot FM promoted Supreme Weekend show. This show is scheduled for April 30, and May 1, 2010.

In light of the foregoing, and in order to ensure consistency and to avoid discrimination, Government has decided that in going forward, it is essential to establish a permanent committee to review applications for artistes seeking permits to perform in Saint Lucia.

Government is cognizant that St. Lucia is part of the CARICOM grouping and we will, as we have been doing, encourage and facilitate the free movement of artistes. However, the Administration holds the firm view that artistes, promoters and Government have a shared responsibility as much as possible, to ensure that standards prevail to the benefit of the country, particularly to the vulnerable youth in our midst.

Government has written to the show promoters and has offered them the option of reapplying for the granting of work permits to the other artistes included on the show with the exclusion of Mr. Adidja Azim Palmer, aka Vybes Kartel.

Finally, Government thinks it necessary to encourage structured public discussion on the matter of the granting of work permits to non-national artistes and related issues. Government will therefore seek to work in concert with relevant local entities in organising and facilitating discussion forums that will help to inform Government’s approach and policy on this matter in the future.

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