Wednesday 5 October 2011

Dancehall star Vybz Kartel has been charged with the murder of Jamaican promoter Barrington Burton

Vybz Kartel
. Photograph: Scott Gries/Getty Images

Jamaican dancehall star Vybz Kartel has been charged with murder. A police statement issued in Kingston on Monday said that the 35-year-old artist was charged with murder, conspiracy to murder and illegal possession of a firearm. Investigators accuse the rapper, whose real name is Adijah Palmer, of conspiring with others to kill a 27-year-old promoter who was murdered earlier this year.

"The allegation is that on Monday, July 11, 2011, Palmer, along with other men, conspired to murder Barrington Burton o/c 'Bossie', a 27-year-old businessman/promoter of a Gregory Park address in St Catherine. Burton was murdered while he was standing with friends along Walkers Avenue in Gregory Park," the police release said. A preliminary hearing is scheduled to take place on Tuesday.

Kartel's defence attorney was reported to have said that his client was prepared to fight the charges. Kartel was initially arrested on Friday for marijuana possession.

Kartel has previously been arrested on charges including assault and illegal gun possession. Those charges were later dropped. A long-running feud with fellow artist Mavado is alleged to have fuelled mob attacks in inner-city neighbourhoods of Kingston. In December 2009, the two met government ministers in an attempt to calm the situation.

Kartel has worked on collaborations and remixes with the likes of Jay-Z, Rihanna and MIA. His international hits include Ramping Shop, Dollar Sign and Clarks. The success of the latter song last year sent sales of the British shoes soaring in Jamaica. A businessman in his own right, Kartel also has his own brands of rum and condoms as well as his owncontroversial range of skin-lightening cosmetics.

Recently, the singer also became the star of locally produced reality TV show Teacha's Pet. Officials from the telecommunications company that sponsors the show were said to be discussing the new charges levelled against Kartel last night.