Buju Banton [Photo: Courtesy]

Legendary Jamaican reggae and dancehall recording artist Mark Anthony Myrie alias Buju Banton is under fire for declaring he will not wear face masks despite government directives mandating the use of the protective gear to help slow the spread of Covid-19.

In a controversial move via a series of videos that he posted on his Instagram page on Wednesday, October 21 that the Beyond the Dream Grammy award winner captioned 'Free My People Now,' Banton called on the Caribbean island nation’s 2.9 million people to "wake up".

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“Jamaican people need to wake up. Mi nah wear no mask cause mask nuh mek fi man. Free mi people dem, free my people now. Wi waa done wid dis mask-wearing bulls**t inna Jamaica. Who fi dead ago dead and who nah go dead, haffi jus live,” said the Bam Bam star

Calling on mask-wearing to end, the internationally acclaimed Kingston bred hitmaker insisted that the Jamaican people were being ‘fooled’, and admonished the ruling class, claiming they were using the pandemic to fan fear.

“We tired of you intellectual fools trying to tell us how to live our lives. You are all touting a line and putting the Jamaican people in abject fear and driving us all to poverty. What have you done for all those who you have laid off and mek dem business close early? Jamaican people need to wake up and mi done wid di f**kery,” added the singer.

The ‘Til Shiloh superstar continued, “Don’t you see that they have been lying to us for all this time? Why should we believe them now? How ironic it is that this virus act as if it is more intelligent than man. First and foremost, Jamaicans unuh sell unuh vote enuh, and from unuh sell unuh vote unuh nuh have no sense. So, anything can happen right now. Wise up and stand up. A unuh last chance before unuh reach the precipice.” 

Adding: “My love for you supersedes all that this world has to offer. I will not join the other entertainers and trick you. I will not lead you on a path of destruction. I have always been sincere and true to you my people… A lot of people are benefitting by touting and pushing my people down that path, which is totally destructive, here in Jamaica and in America.”

The singer's sentiments were, however, not well received and generated a lot of backlash on social media. One concerned person took to Instagram and shared: “Bwoy Buju mi love yuh to bits but mi nuh agree with you on this... now go out yuh mask on before anything happen to you.” Another stated: “I’ve lost family to Covid so the whole “who ah guh dead, ah guh dead” just lost all of my respect. I guess Buju doesn’t wear a seatbelt either. This is unhelpful and ill-informed.”

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The total number of reported cases of Covid-19 in Jamaica as of October 21 stood at 8,374. 174 have since succumbed.