Incarcerated dancehall artist Tommy Lee Sparta is signaling that he is in support of renewed efforts by the government of Jamaica in clamping down on increasing gun violence.
In a post recently shared on his Instagram account, the artist seemingly reacted to the updated gun laws, which bring stiffer penalties for illegal firearm possession and other gun crimes. Tommy Lee Sparta’s messaging is particularly surprising as the artist is serving time in jail for illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.
In sharing a short video of Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who lamented the increase in gun violence and the need for stricter penalties, Tommy Lee said he endorsed the message. “Me nah lie not a #pnp or #jlp but this is a fair speech,” the artist said.
The artist also urged that more energy be placed on forgiveness and love. “Unno put up the gun them an Mek we full joy life happiness come first Mek me say this first I FORGIVE MY ENEMIES me want unno tag #iforgivemyenemies or #iforgiveyou an move onn it take more energy to hate love is easier,” the artist wrote.
The video of the Prime Minister shared by Tommy Lee comes from a recent speech given by the country’s leader while urging that persons make use of the two-week gun amnesty ahead of the new Firearms (Prohibition, Restriction and Regulation) Act coming into force.
“Gun can’t fire itself. A buried gun is not a problem gun. A problem gun is the one that you have on you hip or in yuh hand,” Holness is heard saying in Parliament.
In the meantime, Tommy Lee Sparta is currently serving a three-year sentence for possession of an illegal firearm and another two years for illegal possession of ammunition. The sentences run concurrently.
The charges stem from his December 2020 arrest after Jamaican police found a gun in a vehicle he was driving in Kingston. The artist pleaded guilty to the charges in March 2021, resulting in the judge giving him a lesser sentence.
While Tommy Lee Sparta has admitted the errors of his ways, anyone else violating the gun laws will not be getting a light sentence as Tommy Lee and other local musicians did.
The Firearms Act imposes hefty sentences on conviction. For illegal possession of a firearm, the minimum sentence is now 15 years on conviction.
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While some fans lauded the dancehall star for the message, others were not convinced it’s coming from a genuine place by questioning some of the music he released including his recent collaboration with Skeng, “Protocol.” The gritty single is one of the most streamed songs this year in dancehall with over 43 million views on YouTube.