KINGSTON –– The police say they are now investigating vicious death threats made on social media against parliamentarian Lisa Hanna after she called for recordings of incarcerated dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel and other murder convicts to be banned from the airwaves.
Head of the Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Branch, Assistant Commissioner of Police Clifford Chambers, told
Jamaica Observer yesterday that Hanna made an official report to the Cybercrimes Unit and that they have since launched an investigation.
Chambers could not speak in detail about the methods to be employed in the investigation; however, he said that part of the probe would deal with proving the offence.
“We have to go through the posts on her Instagram [page to see that] they constitute a criminal investigation and, based on our understanding of the Offences Against the Person Act and the cybercrime legislation, be comfortable that an offence has been committed,” Chambers explained, adding that the way forward is to get the formal investigative processes engaged to associate senders with the messages.
Chambers also explained that if the threats and other messages were made from fake profiles they will be able to engage international counterparts who have the authority to call upon the host of Instagram and other social media platforms.
“So, then it would be an investigation that goes outside the realm of Jamaica, but there are still avenues and means to which we can and will advance these investigations,” Chambers said.
Hanna was speaking Tuesday during a Nationwide Radio discussion about how violence in the country is intertwined with certain negative aspects of popular culture.
“To set examples, we have to identify what rules are rules, and what privileges are privileges. If you are convicted, perhaps it is [that] your music needs not be played on the radio,” Hanna said.
“The issue where Kartel’s music keeps coming out more than any other person — because I haven’t heard any new songs from Buju [Banton] since he has been incarcerated — we need to get to the root cause of that,” Hanna insisted.
In suggesting that an investigation be conducted into Kartel’s production and release of music, Hanna made it clear that she was not singling out the popular dancehall artiste.
“We need to find out how the songs are being made. How are they getting out? Is there corruption in the prison system? Not only for Kartel; I’m not singling out Kartel alone. I’m singling out, across the spectrum, [those] who are having an imprint on our children’s value system,” Hanna asserted.
However, her comments earned the wrath of social media users.
Instagram users left nasty comments under photos she had posted in the past. On Twitter and Facebook, the vitriol towards Hanna was just as intense.
“. . . Lisa Hanna calls for Vybz Kartel’s music to be banned . . . but . . . quotes . . . his . . . music . . . for . . . Instagram . . . ? You know what it is? It’s their constant innate need to be and feel white and bourgeois and not a part of the lumpen proletariat,” one Facebook user said.
One Twitter user accused politicians of using dancehall music while campaigning and asked “What makes it wrong now?”
“Lisa Hanna is losing it. First the plastic rice, now Kartel?” another said.
“Kartel aspire more ghetto utes (sic) than Lisa Hanna suh rn [right now] we just need fi come together and cancel PNP,” yet another social media user stated.
Calls to Hanna yesterday went unanswered, and when contacted for a response, People’s National Party General Secretary Julian Robinson said that he would not be commenting on the matter.
Vybz Kartel, whose given name is Adidja Palmer, was in 2014 given a life sentence, being only eligible for parole after 35 years, for the murder of Clive “Lizard” Williams. Since his incarceration, new recordings are being heard from him almost on a monthly basis. In fact, he has been awarded and lauded for his music at various award shows — the most recent being the Youth View Awards, where he copped five awards, including dancehall artiste of the year.