Everyone at the Observer intimated their disappointment with the outcome of the second trial of the Grammy-winning reggae artiste. Buju's former manager and producer, Donovan Germain of Penthouse Records was so distraught by the news that he opted not to comment, noting, "I can't talk to you right now, I am too messed up to think."
In the meantime, social network sites, Facebook and Twitter in particular, have been abuzz even before the verdict was handed down. On Facebook, one Buju Banton fan from Barbados noted that the verdict was indeed "sour", adding that "everyone feel for him". She said a number of radio stations in Barbados were showing solidarity with the Jamaican artiste and playing his music.
Fellow artiste and Buju's close friend, Wayne Wonder also took to Facebook. Wonder urged, "Lets all keep the prayers going for Mark, we all have to stay strong and stand by him!"
Only last week the entertainment fraternity had their hopes lifted, as on February 13 -- one day before the start of this, his second trial --Buju won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album for the project, Before the Dawn. Many saw this as good fortune for the artiste who had been plagued by tour cancellations to support his previous release, Rasta Got Soul. Buju Banton reacted to the win at the Grammys by noting how honoured he was, adding that it meant that his music has transcended a lot of borders and people are now paying attention to what he has to say.
The Observer sought comments from a number of players in the music industry to the verdict as handed down in the Florida courtroom.
He complained to the informant that he did not make any money on his last tour and that gay-rights organisation, The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, "is trying to run me under."