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Buju Banton waves to supporters upon arrival at the Norman Manley International Airport
Grammy award-winning artiste Buju Banton arrived in Jamaica on Friday night, hours after he was released from the McRae Correctional institute in Georgia, USA.
Buju, whose given name is Mark Myrie, was whisked away in a white Toyota Hilux pick-up, shortly after arriving at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston just after 8 p.m. The vehicle was escorted by police outriders.
Scores of excited fans gathered gathered at the airport to get a glimpse of the Driver singer. However, there was great uncertainty about whether the artiste had left undetected. At one point the unlookers, some with suitcases, ran to one end of the airport ground after being told that the singer was spotted near the departure lounge.
The crowd, which started out small, grew gradually after news spread that he was on his way home. However, many were unable to see the superstar artiste as he was transported from the airport via a side gate.
"Mi never know a today him a come. If a that me naah lef, me waah see if him get fat or if him look different from the Gargamel mi last see a Sting," one man said.
The entertainer was convicted of drug trafficking on February 22, 2011 in Tampa, Florida, 12 days after the retrial of his case began. Federal prosecutors required two trials to convict the reggae icon, who was targeted and pursued by an undercover federal informant for more than a year.
The powerful Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) recently said its members would not be putting any barriers in front of the reggae superstar when he returns from prison to resume his music career.
"As far as Mr Banton is concerned, we believe that he has done his time, he has paid his price. Let us see what he does with his future. We wish him well," PSOJ president Howard Mitchell said
Meanwhile, special arrangements were made for the return of Buju to Jamaica. Deportees are normally sent back from the United States on the last Thursday of each month.
However, Buju was flown from Georgia to Florida where he boarded his flight to Jamaica.
The release of the Til Shiloh singer has been eagerly anticipated on the island. Celebrated vocalist Beres Hammond told The STAR recently that he looked forward to seeing his old pal.
"Him should a out long time but nothing never happen before its time. I'm looking forward to seeing him," Beres said.
Tarrus Riley, when asked by The STAR What advice or special message he has for have Buju, said: "I am happy he has his freedom now and so he can choose where he wants to go, there must be a significant place that he enjoys."
"Depending on the mindset Buju is in, he may just want to chill. I don't have demands or orders for him, I just want him to come home and relax. Get your mind together first, Buju, because while everybody will have expectations of the entertainer, we must think about the human being that he is. Buju Banton is definitely someone I love. I never stop wave the Buju Banton banner."