HAMILTON, Bermuda, CMC – National Security Minister, Wayne Caines, has hit back angrily at a spokesman for a Jamaican reggae singer who claimed the performer was denied entry to Bermuda as a tourist after a concert was cancelled last weekend.
Caines said Vershon, whose real name is Kemar Vershawn Brown, was “never refused entry into Bermuda because he never travelled to Bermuda”.
Caines weighed in on the issue following the claim by the spokesman, who was not identified by name, told the Royal Gazette newspaper that the 28-year-old performer got turned away at the L.F. Wade International Airport after being told that the BDA Summer Music Festival at Snorkel Park in Dockyard had been cancelled at the last minute because of immigration-clearance problems, thus invalidating his work permit.
The spokesman had demanded an apology from authorities saying Vershon was a “brand ambassador for reggae-dancehall music.”
But, Caines said concert promoters had been told “weeks in advance” that Vershon needed a work permit to perform on the island.
The Immigration Department was told last Friday of three Jamaicans saying they had come to perform at the same concert, but who did not hold valid permits.
Caines said the three were allowed entry to Bermuda as visitors, but that Vershon was not been among them.
He said that there was “no record of Mr. Brown (Vershon) in our system”, or of an application for him to perform.
Caines said no Jamaicans were refused entry to the island on Friday and Brown’s name did not appear on any flight manifests for that day.
He described the confusion as “unfortunate” and said concert organizers had failed to inform entertainers and take responsibility for the mistake.
“Furthermore, I am disappointed that they have allowed both international and local media to misplace blame on Bermuda and the hard-working people at the Department of Immigration.”