Support Buju Banton by Sending a Letter to Judge James Moody

By Jason Walker

As the reports over the past year and a half have shown Dancehall Reggae Superstar Legend Buju Banton was arrested, held in jail for over a year, was then tried and convicted on conspiracy drug charges which could carry 15 years and the crux of the prosecution’s case rested on the testimony of a confidential informant and a recording done on Buju. Buju Banton AKA Mark Anthony Myrie has been such a positive contributor to Caribbean, Reggae, & Jamaican culture that this development will have a tremendous blow on the aforementioned communities not to mention his family, his children. There is a campaign on to ask as many people as possible to write Judge James Moody, who is to sentence Banton Thursday June 23, to ask for leniency and to share with the Judge the positive contributions that he has brought to so many. Below are the addresses of both the Judge and his probation officer who both need to get letter. Also I have an example of a letter that have been sent to the Judge.
Please send in a letter if you can.
Here are the addresses:

The Honourable James S. Moody Jr.
United States District Judge
Tampa Division
801 North Florida Avenue
Tampa, Florida 33602

Natasha Creamer
U. S. Probation Officer, P.O. Box 390
Tampa, FL 33601.

Dear Colleague;

As you are well aware, Buju Banton faces sentencing on June 23rd for his conviction on the charge conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute. We cannot change the conviction, however, our collective voices can influence the Judge to reduce the suggestion of a 15 year sentence.

Below is my open letter to the judge. If it is within you, add your voice and let the Judge know how you feel regarding the amount of time Buju serves. My letter is included below.
When addressing Ms. Creamer, we must specify that we are writing in support of Mark Myrie a/k/a Buju Banton. Based on the feedback, our letters are making a difference. Together, we will effect change for Buju!

Thank you
Natasha Von Castle

Open letters to Judge James Moody

Dear Judge Moody;
Your honour, I am writing you to make an appeal for leniency and a reduction in the time recommended for the case of Mark Anthony Myrie AKA Buju Banton who you will be sentencing on Thursday June 23. Buju Banton started his amazing career when he was but a teenager in the late eighties, he became a transcendent figure in the Reggae / Dancehall world very quickly. By the age of 21 Banton had already broken the record of having number one hits under the age of 21 in Jamaican history. By the early nineties he began to show the form that would mark his career, he began making music that would speak of positive themes, become a voice for the economically and politically oppressed and started to bring back the popularity of message music in the Dancehall especially.
Banton showed such music in the album Voice of Jamaica, but really blew this concept wide open with the album ‘Til’ Shiloh’ which would have the affect of changing the course of music for the more positive and conscious and by consequence encourage those influenced to be more positive and conscious. He has been a leading voice for the several causes such as the fight against AIDS (Banton launched Operation Willy the non-profit charity organization promoting safe sex education and dedicated to raising funds for children who are HIV positive or have lost their parents to the disease.)
Banton has consistently been a positive manifestation that has inspired many to be better and more than they thought they could have been and has represented the millions of Caribbean people and Reggae lovers around the world in only inspiring ways. All the positive Banton has done by all indications have been done for true sincere reasons, for he began writing such words and doing such deed before the lights and cameras of fame were on him. I know I was blessed to be around from the beginning.
Besides being such an icon for such a large community, he is a loving father, and in this period when so many of our children have been growing without fathers which only has negative repercussions for society in the long run, I appeal your honour to help lessen the time that these children should be away from their father. I leave you with a few of the powerful lyrics that Buju Banton AKA Mark Anthony Myrie has given the world.
Jason Walker,
A Fan, Friend, A lover of Reggae, A Lover of the Caribbean, A Jamaican, A Lover of the Positive

“Close One Yesterday”

One more day in the struggle
Have to get up and juggle
You done know, want a little sugar inna de pan
Me nah see fi trouble, no man
Oh oh oh

Said I had close one yesterday
Jah put an angel over me, be strong
Hold a firm meditation
One day things must get better, don’t you go down
Keep your head above the water
Say, one day things must get better, be strong

Said I had close one yesterday
Jah put an angel over me, be strong
Hold a firm meditation
One day things must get better, don’t you go down
Keep your head above the water
Say, one day things must get better, be strong

The rich is wise in his conceit
But the fool with over standing search him out
Poor man mourn, the rich riches increase
Be not grieved, riches are not forever

Envy not the oppressor choses none of his ways
Be not wise in his own eyes, only jah you must praise
Strive not with a man without cause
If he have done no harm, let by gone be by gone

Said I had close one yesterday
Jah put an angel over me, be strong
Hold a firm meditation
One day things must get better, don’t you go down
Keep your head above the water
Say, one day things must get better, be strong

This nine to five is a joke
Compare to the pressure the minister say
The economy is getting better
Misleading the people

The mass still suffer on jah
Scarce benefit and spoils
Jah know that we feel it day

Dear Judge Moody;

In your many years within the justice system as a lawyer and Judge, I am sure you have come across cases that have either touched you, or touched the community which you represent. A touch could be a personal understanding of one or some of the components in a case, just as a touch can be pride in knowing that the justice system worked (the way it’s supposed to) in making sure the right people receive the right punishment according to their crime(s).

Your honor, I am writing this letter with the belief that I, on behalf of the community I represent, can appeal to you on a ‘touch’ level.

Before your court is the matter of Mr. Mark ‘Buju Banton’ Myrie who is due to be sentenced on June 23rd by you, for the conviction he received on the charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute. I appeal to you to reduce Buju’s sentence from the recommended 15 years.

Buju is not like any man you will ever meet. He is a friend, a father, a husband and one of the pillars in the Caribbean community; not just Jamaica, but every Caribbean community in every city around the world.

As one of our pillars, he has given the community songs which nourish the soul. This nourishment has turned youths away from crime, has strengthened families and healed those who were not well.

How do we know this is true? The testimony of countless of which I am one. He spoke for me when he sang ‘I wanna go ahead without turning back / and now I see myself heading for the trap / I wanna break free but I feel trapped / a voice inside me saying don’t stop ….’ Those words were taken from the song “Optimistic Soul” which encouraged listeners to not give up, no matter how daunting the situation looks. Those were Buju’s words from 2010. If we go back 10 years before that, we have ‘there was good and evil / we chose good ….’

When an announcement is made that Buju will be performing, the show(s) sell out. Tickets are purchased by people who want a live touch of Buju’s nourishing words. Fans leave the concerts fulfilled and refocused on the right path.

We, the community, need Buju, and we need you to understand his importance to us. Because of these needs, I ask you to not sentence Buju to 15 years in prison. I ask that you consider his humanitarian works with the children of his homeland Jamaica and I ask that you consider his impact on the Caribbean community around the world. Once you’ve considered these, I ask that you set a sentence that will not see Buju away from us for a lengthy period of time.

Thank you,

Natasha Von Castle

Chief Executive Officer and President

L3 Group of Companies

Toronto, ON Canada