This week’s standout development as Newsmaker of the Week revolves around the array of opinions emerging from Jamaicans in response to Friday’s unexpected announcement. The Judicial Committee of the UK Privy Council is set to deliver its much-anticipated judgment regarding the appeals of Vybz Kartel, the incarcerated dancehall artist, and his co-convicts on Thursday, March 14.

Jamaicans were surprised to learn that the highest tier of the Jamaican court system had scheduled the delivery of a determination on Kartel’s fate. The judgment is slated for 11 am Jamaican time on Thursday, much earlier than the defense attorneys had anticipated, who had initially expected it by June or late summer of this year.

With the judgment approaching rapidly, speculation abounds regarding the likely outcome of the appeal, especially considering the short period since the UK appeal hearing in mid-February. The case involved voluminous documents submitted months prior to the February hearing.

Vybz Kartel, whose real name is Adidja Palmer, was convicted on March 13, 2014, along with his co-appellants Shawn Campbell, Kahira Jones, and Andre St John, for the murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams. Following the dismissal of their appeal by the Jamaican Court of Appeal, their cases are now under the jurisdiction of the Privy Council.

The Privy Council justices, including Lord Reed, Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lord Briggs, Lord Burrows, and Lady Simler, will assess several key issues. These include the validity of the telephone evidence used in the convictions, whether it violated constitutional rights, the impact of an attempted bribery incident on the trial, and the conduct of the trial judge, Justice Lennox Campbell, particularly regarding jury instructions.

The focus of the two-day UK hearing primarily centered around jury issues, notably the potential influence of a juror accused of attempting bribery on the overall panel. Despite allegations of attempted bribery during the trial in Jamaica, the judge elected to proceed without discharging the jury.

In response to the announcement of the judgment date, Bert Samuels, one of the attorneys in the appeal case, expressed opposition to the possibility of a retrial should the UK court remand the case to the Jamaican Appeal Court. He cited various factors against a retrial, including witness availability and pre-trial publicity.

Social media platforms buzzed with diverse reactions from Jamaicans, ranging from anticipation of Kartel’s release to skepticism about the outcome. Some expressed concerns about justice and the impact on the victim’s family.

As the judgment day approaches, emotions run high, with hopes, fears, and uncertainties prevailing among the public regarding the fate of Vybz Kartel and his co-convicts.