Despite the many accomplishments Dancehall music has been accredited with since its inception, the popular genre continues to garner heat for inciting crime and violence within Jamaican culture, as exemplified by recent comments made by one of the island’s most prominent politicians.
On Thursday, Jamaica’s security minister, Peter Bunting made some strong remarks regarding Dancehall while speaking at a Rotary Club of Liguanea Plains meeting in St Andrew. Minister Bunting used this platform to express his concern that Dancehall continues to hinder efforts by the government to curb criminal behavior.
However, what made Bunting’s comments particularly eye-catching was his singling out of incarcerated Dancehall superstar, Vybz Kartel, who currently faces murder and conspiracy charges in relation to two separate cases.
While speaking to the much talked about lottery scam which rocked the island in recent years, Bunting pointed to Kartel’s controversial song, Reparation as a source of some propaganda that encourages scamming as a harmless act.
“It’s an amazing piece of propaganda for scammers,” he said. [But] bear in mind that St James has one of the highest proportions as it relates to homicides, and approximately 50 per cent of those murders are related to scamming.”
Bunting quoted some of these lyrics: “Big up every scammer weh mek US dollar, Western Union people fi give we more honor. Every ghetto yute fi a live like Tony Montana, live presidential like Barack Obama.”
The lottery scandal in St. James has been a major talking point in the parish since 2006, as police have connected with over 400 deaths with the scam. At least one elderly American citizen committed suicide after losing millions of dollars to Jamaican scammers.
Minister Bunting confirmed earlier this year that Jamaica’s 2012 murder rate was its lowest for nine years, with 1,087 recorded last year. Additionally, information from the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) Statistics and Data Management Unit revealed that there was a 7% reduction in violent crimes such as sexual offences and acquisitory crimes.