Denied a Grenada work permit, Mr Vegas cries politics

ST GEORGE’S, Grenada – The Grenada government has refused a work permit to Jamaican dancehall artiste Clifford Smith, popularly known as Mr Vegas, who was scheduled to perform here on Saturday.

“This is political, it’s a political move by this government,” said Smith, who performed in Grenada at a rally of the then ruling New National Party in 2008.


“I risk my life to perform in an event, I did not even know it was a political event, and now this is how I am being thanked,” he said on a live radio broadcast today.

Promoter Steve Duncan said that no specific reasons had been given by the Ministry of Labour for refusing the work permit.

Duncan, who claimed to have invested more than EC$30,000 (US$11,110) in marketing the show, is questioning the move to ban the artiste and wants the government to say if it has a list containing the names of persons who should not perform in Grenada.

“If this government is placing a ban on a particular number of Caribbean artistes, then that should be public knowledge and should be brought to the attention of the promoters when the application for the work permit is made.”

Grenada’s labour laws do not require the Labour Minister to provide a reason for denying an artiste a work permit.

This is the second Jamaican artiste to be banned from performing here by the 19-month old Tillman Thomas administration. Last April, the government refused a work permit for artiste known as Vybz Kartel.

Meanwhile, a Roman Catholic priest is praising the government for its decision.

“I believe it has more to do with decency and the values we promote as the church as to crown it off we are presently in the middle of the Lenten season,” said Father Sean Doggett.

Last week, the Conference of Churches along with the Alliance of Evangelical churches issued a statement calling on media houses and promoters of live shows to exercise restraint during the 40-day Lenten period.

“We are asking them to avoid all forms of rudeness, vulgarity and obscenity as well as anything that militates against Christian morality,” the statement said.