ROSEAU, Dominica -- Attorney-at-law Bert Samuels said he is currently awaiting a further response from the Dominican government in relation to the deportation of his client, dancehall artiste Tommy Lee Sparta, from that Caribbean state.
Tommy Lee Sparta
In May, Samuels told the Jamaica Observer he would be filing a claim with the Trinidad and Tobago-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) if the Dominican government did not start compensation negotiations.
Samuels stated on Tuesday that, instead of filing the claim, he had sought the assistance of Jamaica’s ministry of foreign affairs and foreign trade.
“We have begun preparing the file, but we decided to hold off as we didn’t want it to seem as if we were going around the diplomatic channels. Therefore, we engage the government to intervene,” said Samuels.
The ministry of foreign affairs had written a letter to the Dominican government, who confirmed receiving the letter.
“This is to advise that the government of Dominica, on 10th June 2014, acknowledged receipt of this ministry’s correspondence. We are awaiting a further response,” the ministry stated.
The 26-year-old entertainer, whose given name is Leroy Russell, along with three members of his team, was deported from Dominica on Monday, February 24, a day after their arrival. Prior to his arrival, the Dominica Association of Evangelical Churches had called for a boycott of the artiste’s concert. The group said its concern was based on Tommy Lee Sparta’s glorification of Satan and his promotion of violence.
The entertainer and his team had journeyed to Dominica to perform at a concert in Portsmouth. They were, however, denied entry and placed in custody under allegedly inhumane conditions before being deported.
Last year, the CCJ awarded BB$75,000 (US$37,500) to Jamaican Shanique Myrie, after she was denied entry to Barbados in March 2011. The court ruled that Myrie’s rights were breached by the Barbados government.
Tommy Lee Sparta is known for tracks including Psycho, Nuh Fear Dem, Daddy Devil and Uncle Demon.
McCarthy Marie, president of the Association of Music Professionals (AMP), believes the Tommy Lee matter should be taken to court.
He believes, “The court will determine what the conditions are for an artiste who is a resident or citizen of one CARICOM country to enter another CARICOM country.”
According to Marie, some definitive ruling should be advocated to guide everyone as to how the process can go forward.
The government denied Tommy Lee entry on the basis that his presence in Dominica was a security risk.
Marie said the question of national security risk should be clarified by the court. Even Dominican musicians will have a clearer idea to what their rights are whenever they go to other CARICOM countries.
He stated he did not have a general discussion on the matter with the musicians he works with, but “assumes that some will have a view that the case should be taken to court; some will have a view that Tommy Lee Sparta’s rights were infringed as a CARICOM citizen, and some would have the opposite view.”
He believes that the best thing to do is for everyone goes to court and ventilate their point of view, and the judges make a ruling that would guide everybody to what their rights are.
Republished with permission of CBN4News