Guardian.co.tt – Hours after defending his officers’ decision to search the hotel room of Buju Banton, Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith met with the Jamaican reggae artiste to assure him officers will not interfere with him or members of his entourage again.
In a release, the TTPS said Griffith met with Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, at Hilton Trinidad to indicate that he (Griffith) was aware of the “embarrassment, anxiety and inconvenience” which the earlier search of Banton’s room had caused. Furthermore, the CoP assured Banton that the rest of his stay in T&T would be incident free.
Griffith assured Banton that the search was not a personal attack on himself or his entourage. Addressing the actual search of Banton’s room on Saturday, Griffith said officers of the Organised Crime and Intelligence Unit (OCIU) had received certain intelligence which led them to search the artiste’s room. The CoP, however, said he was concerned that the intelligence was flawed, as nothing was found.
Banton immediately took to his Instagram page after the raid, posting a video.
“I just realised something, I’m chilling in my hotel room and the cops came to check me. A whole bunch of them saying they got a warrant to search my room and all them kind of stuff,” Banton said.
“How can you obtain a search warrant for a hotel room on a Saturday?”
Banton said despite the incident he still had love for Trinidad and Tobago.
“I just want to know, no matter what they can’t break us we see what’s going on. We just want you to know what’s going on. We see what you’re planning,” he said.
When contacted moments after the incident, Griffith confirmed officers conducted the search and nothing illegal was found in the room. The CoP was reluctant to give information as to what inspired the search of the reggae singer’s room.
“So because it’s high profile the police service should not be involved in conducting searches and warrants?” Griffith asked about the raid.
Griffith said the police were well within their rights to conduct a search of the singer’s room.
“This is not an abuse of authority, this is what police do. And this is what we have done over the last 50 years and will continue to do,” he said, adding the action was proof that the police was non-discriminatory in their approach.
Banton was convicted in 2011 of conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute. He was released from a United States prison last December. This conviction meant he required an exemption from Minister of National Security to enter the country to perform for Sunday’s I Am Legend concert, which he is set to headline.