Presiding judge Lennox Campbell has decided that all five accused in the Kartel and other murder trail have a case to answer.
In criminal trials, this means that the accused, he plans to give evidence on his own behalf, he has to do so before any witness he intends to call, speaks. One of the sisters of Adidja Palmer who is known to us as Vybz Kartel now gives character evidence on his behalf.
Here are my verbatim notes of her evidence which is marshaled by attorney for Kartel, Tom Tavares Finson:
Mrs. Maureen Nelson – Vice Principal of a High School in Portmore – Cumberland.
I have 6 siblings. Adidja is my brother. He’s the third child of the family. We lived in Waterhouse.
I am the eldest of 6. We grew up with both parents and my parents are still together. We are a close knit family. My mom stayed at home and my father worked. We would never be out on road as mommy would be there.
I attended Waterford High school. Adidja attended Calabar. We went to school from Monday to Friday as our parents valued education. We went to Church every Sunday. That is the Truth Tabernacle Pentecostal church.
After I left college I moved out but I maintained ties with my family. I left home at age 21. I attended Mico University then Utech, University of Technology. I continued to have contact with all siblings being the eldest child. I maintained contact with Adidja up to time of the arrest.
At the University of the West Indies I did school education measurement and psychology and leadership
Tom Tavares Finson directs her now to her assessment of her brother – Adidja
Growing up we were a closely knitted family. As I said we went to Church on Sundays and school everyday. We were called ‘grill up’ in Portmore because we were not allowed to run up and down on the road. We created our own life inside the house as we were not allowed to run around.
As adults we separated and when Adidja left the house he became a deejay. First thing he did when he ‘buss’ was to buy mommy a house. He bought a car for our father for his birthday. All of us as siblings got trips, birthday parties. I saw elements of my father in him. His children are not allowed to run about.
Tavares Finson asks – you say you are a Christian so you don’t go to Sting, Weddi Weddi and those dances
A- no sir. I am Christian
Tavares Finson – and you can’t speak about what he does at dance or whenever he goes to club at …(turns to prosecutor Jeremy Taylor for the name of club – courtroom chuckles)
A- No I can’t speak about his interaction with friends. I have never been to his studio. I live in Portmore, so I have never been to his studio.
I don’t like his music. I am a Christian but he says it’s his business. He does it to take us out of poverty and he’s done that.
Tavares Finson – What about the tattoos
Answer- he knows mi nuh like it none at all but it’s just business
Some lyrics offensive but it’s his craft, his business. I am teacher and I do my craft. He’s an entertainer. That’s his craft.
Judge – what would you say to a child who falls under your care who bleaches
Answer – The last meeting we attended we were told by the Ministry of Education not to turn away children from school because of bleaching. It’s a child’s right. We cant turn them away.
Tom Tavares Finson to the character witness – this handsome gentleman is going to ask you questions – signaling time for the prosecutor, Jeremy Taylor to cross examine her
Q- You have any favourite Kartel songs
Q- Which one
A- One about mommy and us growing up in Portmore
Q- What’s the name of that song
A- I can’t recall
Q- Sing a line
A- Summer time in a Portmore (witness sings) and I like Emergency – these I hear on the radio
Q- Did he ever give you any CDs with his music
A- I am a Cristina Addi not going to give me music. I wouldn’t accept any reggae or R&B music from anyone else.
Q-But what if he was to come and give you
A- If he was to come and give it to me, I would take it.
Q- is that because of family loyalty
A-No. If Beres Hammond was to come and give me his music, I would take it. I would take it as part of family loyalty and as a person giving me something
Q- When did Adidja Palmer move out
A- I left home before Adidja
Q- I am sure sure you know when
A- I left home age 21. Adidja was about 16 at the time. I don’t know.
Q- How long now has he been on his own
A- I can’t recall
Judge – when you go back
A- I go home frequently.
Q- How long he left
A- About 5 yrs after me
Q- where did he live when he first move out
A- He lived in Passagefort for about 2-5 yrs. I never visited him there.
Q- where else did he live
A- Then Norbrook. He still lives there. Don’t remember the year he went there.
Q- have you ever visited him there
A- I went to see him there several times.
Q- how much older that Mr Palmer are you
A -Adidja younger than me by about 7-8yrs
Q- Now Adidja has his own set of values and attitudes
A- Every human being has his own values and attitudes
Q- He has own views about what is right and wrong
A- Every human being
Q- Aren’t you here as a character witness
Q- would you say he has his own views of good and evil
A- Just as I do
Q- And you accept that one can be good to family and not to others outside
A- the Bible says all have sinned and come short of glory – so yes
Q- have you ever interacted with associates and friends
A- I live in Portmore and …So when we have parties his friends will come.
Q- Have you interacted with them
Q- Aren’t you a teacher madam
A-If you mean talk – yes I have
Q- How often you see them
A- Very rare
Q- you don’t know what criterion he uses to choose his friends
Q- so your knowledge of his is based on your knowledge of his as a brother
A- I can’t speak of him outside of that. I would be foolish to do that
Q- Do you assess students’ character
A- On a daily basis
Q- Their association with each other is taken into account
A- I would not use that alone.
Q-But that would help
A- No it wouldn’t
Q- what exactly do you do at school
A- In charge of everything at school. That includes discipline. Student records, character not only academic performance.
Q- you have to speak about interaction with each other
A- Yes – if possible
Witness is now asked whether she knows any of the accused
Q- Do you know person at the end of the dock there? Please stand Kahira
A- I know his face not the name …I know all the faces not names. Kiro is my neighbor. Shawn lives in the area. I have seen them in Waterford with my brother
Q- your brother goes to church
A- I don’t know
Q- which school did he attend
A- Calabar but he didn’t finish Calabar. The school asked him to leave not because of any disciplinary issue.
Q- Does he believe in God.
A- (witness pauses then answers) – Yes
Q- Why you pause
A- there is a reason why I pause
Q- Apart from friends and associates do you know how he operates his business
A- A little not much
Q- do you have an idea about he handles business contracts and honoring deals
A- we never had that discussion. He doesn’t question me how I operate at Sch when we meet. We talk. We laugh.
Q- You do not know his outside of family setting
A- That’s what I have been saying. I speak of him as my brother
Q- You know his aliases
A- Addi, Teacha, Vybz Kartel,
Q- Worl’ Boss?
A- yes Worl’ Boss
Do you know Clive Williams
Q- do you know Lamar Chow
End of cross examination of sister of Vybz Kartel by Jeremy Taylor. Kartel’s lead attorney, Tom Tavares Finson has a question in re-examination
Q- you said something about the reason for your brother’s exit from Calabar
A- As a teacher on a daily basis boys come to me with disciplining reasons. My brother was asked to leave Calabar because of his love for music. He was just writing music. Just music…just music. School in session and him just a write music. Now we have performing arts where that can be used in a positive way. We never had that back in those times.
Q- did he get any subjects
A- yes – English, Geography and Accounts (I missed a bit here ) … he passed his exams and he used to teach at college there. He was part of UWI summer programme there and he did well.