Several agencies have launched a joint investigation into an interview with Vybz Kartel conducted virtually by Fox 5 New York’s Lisa Evers.
The first of a two-part series on the artist aired on Wednesday night in which Vybz Kartel called in to talk about the conditions about his cell and his bid for freedom at the Privy Council in the United Kingdom, the highest court of appeal in Jamaica.
On Thursday morning (August 19), authorities said the Department of Correctional Services, which is directly in charge of Kartel’s wellbeing in prison along with several other state agencies, have launched a major investigation into how Kartel was able to join the interview with Fox-5’s Lisa Evers in the United States.
According to Nationwide News, the investigation will seek to verify whether the voice on the call was that of the incarcerated deejay. If yes, the state will also assess how the deejay came to be in possession of a mobile device while in the cell.
The Department of Correctional Services previously added a layer of security to the artist’s cell at the Horizon Remand Center months ago after the deejay appeared on an Instagram Live with producer Rvssian. The incident caused outrage and sparked an investigation in which phones were found in the deejay’s cell and seized.
News agencies are reported that the Department of Correctional Services, the Ministry of National Security Inspectorate, and several law enforcement agencies are working on the joint investigation.
This is not the first time that Kartel has been breaching contraband rules. In March 2020, a cell phone was found in Vybz Kartel’s cell, leading to added security measures for the artist’s prison cell. That also led to him being moved from the St Catherine Adult Correctional Facility and taken to the Horizon Remand facility, which has more updated cell phone blocking technology.
It has been speculated that the measures were responsible for Kartel having a minimal online presence. The deejay was speculated to be using his Instagram account frequently, although there have been no confirmations as to who uses the account.
There have been frequent activity on the page in recent days on the heels of the release of his new album Born Fi Dis.
Vybz Kartel is serving life imprisonment for the murder of Clive’ Lizard’ Williams in Havendale in St. Andrew in 2011. He was jointly charged with four co-accused, including his protégé Shawn Storm, who is also in prison.
The second part of Kartel’s interview is scheduled for airing on August 19. However, it seems that the first part is incriminating enough.
In the first interview aired Wednesday night, Kartel was asked to describe the conditions of the prison cell he was in, in which the artist said the cell was damp and “dark like a dungeon” and there were four bunk beds in it.
Cell phones are defined as contraband in prisons in Jamaica. However, despite best efforts by the authorities, the devices are still accessible to prisoners, including Kartel, who was previously moved after phones were found in his possession. The Jamaican government, too, has noted the challenges and invested in cellphone blocking technology to stop prisoners from being able to use phones. Still, the issue of corrupt officers and visitors bringing in contraband remains a major issue, as noted by one former Minister of government.
Kartel’s interview has been received with consternation by both the authorities and Jamaicans who viewed the interview, which also featured a photograph of the artist standing shirtless in what looks like a cell.
Lisa Evers, who previously covered a story on Vybz Kartel’s appeal to the Privy Council, said that the artist had reached out to her as she was the only journalist he has spoken to in 10 years since he’s been behind bars.
The artist asserted his innocence and alleged that the Jamaican government wants to keep him in jail because they were threatened by him.
He also disclosed that he has been sick the past few years and has been faring better mentally than physically, although he is not currently physically ill.
While in jail, Kartel has released an impressive catalog of music. The “Fever” deejay told Evers that he is confident that he will be released following the United Kingdom-based judicial committee of the Privy Council so he can continue to make his music.
In a shocking turn of events, the deejay, who has been known for ridiculing the Governor-General who is Jamaica’s ceremonial head of state, also said, “God save the Queen,” who he says may be his only chance at justice as he insinuated corrupt Jamaican officials were determined to keep him jail and that evidence in his conviction were fabricated to further that end goal.
The artist’s lawyer has said that he stands a good chance on appeal because an independent expert was able to say that Kartel’s phone was tampered with, which would compromise the evidence.
Vybz Kartel’s lawyer Isat Buchanan has not addressed any of the developments as yet.