Jamal Shyne Barrow was deported to Belize today – ending two decades of residence in the United States and close to 9 years of imprisonment for felony assault charges in New York.
Now, deportees coming home never make the news and, usually, the return of deportees is reason for lamentation...but not today, for his very prominent family and this very famous ex-convict, it was cause for celebration. And perhaps rightly so, because at 30 years old Shyne Barrow is no regular deportee; he was a major recording artist at the time of his imprisonment and successfully released a recording while in prison. He is still considered a very bankable artist and more than that, his father is the prime minister. Sounds like a perfect recipe for a media feeding frenzy and 7News was at the airport. Here’s the play by play. Jules Vasquez Reporting,
The scene at the airport was mostly unremarkable - no great flurry of fans - just a few curious onlookers and a few handfuls of well wishers. But there was a buzz of activity, a convoy of SUVs, Shyne’s entourage in position, the Prime Minister’s vehicle shuttling about.
The only other remarkable thing was the scrum of media pressed up against the chain link fence adjoining the VIP room where Shyne would be processed. That was the only access the media could get because airport security closed the waving gallery – which offers the best vantage point for viewing persons who arrive was closed. So the media battled with the chain link fence to see the most famous deportee ever Jamal Shyne Barrow now known as Moses Michael Levy. The only camera inside was NICH, shooting for a documentary being made by the film commissioner, Nigel Miguel.
The flight from Houston landed at 2:32 and everyone got what they were waiting for when a frail and ragged looking Shyne emerged escorted by the Commissioner of Police. We are told the first person he asked for was his mother. And Imion Myvett was waiting nearby and took him into the VIP room where his family was waiting.
He was in there with them for about half an hour and while the media waited for a press briefing, his uncle Michael Finnegan told us it wouldn’t happen.
Hon. Michael Finnegan, Uncle of Shyne
“He want to say how happy he is to be home and to be a free man. He would love to have a conversation with the media but because he was legally advised by Profesor Ogletree, he must not speak to the media because he don’t want to prejudice his situation any at all with the US government or Belize government. So he asked me to ask you that he don’t want to disrespect you the media but please understand what is going on. He is leaving from here, I believe he probably left already, or he will be going to the Princess Royal Youth Hostel at mile 21 on the Western Highway at this moment where he will talk to the residents at that institution.”
“What is his disposition right now and how is his greeting with the family?”
Hon. Michael Finnegan,
“Well you could see the tears and the hugs and the romantic situation in there, especially with his grandmother and with his father, with his young brother Anwar, they hugged and never wanted to let go one another.”
Jose Sanchez, News 5
“Will there be a family dinner tonight, everybody, father included and uncle?”
Hon. Michael Finnegan,
“No there will be no, we are not a formal kind of people so we will play it by ear. His residence at my place is two weeks away from completion so he has rented a complete floor at Radisson Fort George Hotel. So every room on a floor was taken by him, whether he will use it or nuh use it. But he said that after going through the eight and a half years he has gone through, he needs some privacy, he needs not be around nobody, he needs just to sit and contemplate his whole life and I think that we need to respect that. If you notice he has lost a extreme amount of weight.”
“As his uncle what were your first words to him?”
Hon. Michael Finnegan,
“Come yah old bwoy. That’s all I said to him because when he was small and ih raise up with me I used to call him old fart; so come yah old fart, come yah old bwoy and that is how we greet one another when we talk on the phone.”
With that Shyne left the VIP lounge gave the cameras a wave his mother Imian Myvett and his mother Esme Diaz a kiss, and his brother Anwar a few words and left in a convoy of SUVs. Well wishers were happy to see him.
“I feel good for him that he’s back in Belize. Now he has freedom, being locked up in detention facilities is not no fund. Shyne is far from a punk and he can definitely hold his own but you know what, there is nothing like freedom and in Belize we have a lot of freedom that a lot of us take for granted.”
Read: 7 News (Belize)
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