Ten years is a long time for a father to be separated from his children.
Hence, Buju Banton’s offspring are already counting down the months to their father’s release and return to Jamaica.
Buju is expected to be released in December 2018, having one year removed from his 10-year sentence.
The eldest of Buju’s children, Jodian Myrie, is anticipating an emotional roller coaster on the day her father lands.
She shared that Buju had asked all his children to promise not to visit during his incarceration. She kept that promise unlike her brothers Markus and Jahazeil, who decided that was not an option.
“When I was 16, we surprised him. I just really wanted to see him because it had been long time,” said Jahazeil, now 20. “He is ready to come home and I know in his spirit that he wants to perform. No one wants to be away from their family or work for so long under those conditions.”
As an emerging member of the recording fraternity, Jahazeil believes that a homecoming event should be planned, although nothing has been discussed among the siblings.
“To be quite honest, we don’t have anything prepared. It is not something that we know how to deal with, a person coming off serving time. Closer to the release, the family will know what to do. One thing I am sure of is he will want some nice food cooked,” Jodian said, adding that they would not necessarily be forcing anything on him.
Jahazeil said he cried on a few occasions when he visited his father.
“Sometimes it rough, sometimes it smooth. No one can imagine the joy it gave me to know him coming out early, it lifted my spirits. He taught us how to be strong and militant, but all I want to see is him reconnect and build a strong bond for the years he missed out on,” Jahazeil said.
Jodian said the family has grown, noting Buju even has grandchildren.
“I had made certain to send recorded media of my daughter to him, so I know when they finally meet I will melt into a puddle,” she said.
The children have recognised that as a legendary recording artiste, Buju will desire to reconnect with his fans both old and new.
However, Mark Myrie the man, according to Jodian, “will need some time to regroup.” Jahazeil believes people will be glad for his father to perform.
However, Jodian said she was unsure how involved the Government would want to be, and said discrimination will come from various persons.
The family seems to have agreed to keep Buju’s return date a secret when all arrangements for his return to Jamaica are made.
This is to avoid unnecessary press and potential security concerns.