the Street Sweeper 3/24/05  

Sizzla KalonjiReggae star, Sizzla Kalonji, on the evening of March 21 was released from police custody in Jamaica after being held for four days by Operation Kingfish.

Sizzla was taken into custody after police and soldiers searched the tenement of Judgment Yard in August Town and recovered 13 high-powered weapons, several rounds of ammunition and other gadgets used in the firing of weapons. The reggae star owns Judgment Yard.

During the operation last Thursday, March 17, 2005, the police found six AK47 rifles, three sniper rifles, one M16 assault rifle, two shot guns, one Intratech 9 submachine gun, 23 AK47 rounds of ammunition, 31 rounds of nine millimetre ammunition, four M16 rounds, two bullet-proof vests, 11 assorted magazines, and a silencer buried in a bag in a fowl coop in Judgment Yard.

The police have charged three men in connection with the find. The three – Nigel Campbell, Michael Anderson and Aaron Chambers, all of August Town addresses – have been charged with illegal possession of ammunition after they were found with bullets in their possession.

Earlier this year, Sizzla, whose real name is Miguel Collins, was ordered to be jailed for 15 days after he brazenly refused to do community service for using expletives at the popular East Fest stage show in St. Thomas on Christmas Day last year. Sizzla was carted off to the Morant Bay Police Station after his performance and was held at the lock-up for over an hour before the show’s promoters, Morgan Heritage, bailed him out.

Police in the Eastern Caribbean island of Barbados urged that country’s Minister of Home Affairs ban Sizzla from performing at the First Annual Barbados Reggae Splash on April 8, 9, 10 at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex. It was announced on February 25 that Morgan Heritage and Luciano will take his place, but organizers cite a double booking as the reason, not his bouts with the law. Furthermore, they did not want to be part of a possible controversy even though promoter Andrew Newton of Bashment House Promotions emphasized that Bajans love Sizzla.

Sizzla was also the subject of attention when gay rights groups in England successfully lobbied for him to be banned from performing at concerts in the United Kingdom because of his anti-gay stance.

In September, residents of August Town demonstrated against the presence of Sizzla in their community and accused him of importing bad men into the area.