COVID-19: Rygin King’s team denies he made false travel declaration

Dancehall artiste Rygin King’s management team has denied assertions made in a voice note that is being circulated on social media that suggested that he made a false declaration locally in relation to his recent trip to Europe.

The assertion has taken on much significance because of the national position on travel between Jamaica and a number of countries, mainly in Europe, that have been significantly affected by the coronavirus, which require mandatory health protocol for persons arriving locally after recently travelling to the specific countries.

“We would like to categorically deny the inaccurate, slanderous and false claims made in a voice note in circulation on social media. These allegations are blatant lies and border on outright slander. First, the artiste made a truthful declaration regarding his stay in Germany. Consequently, he and his road manager were duly processed and screened in the appropriate ‘health’ section of the airport by the authorities,” the statement read

“Secondly, the artiste did not at any time, mention the name of fellow dancehall artiste, Elephant Man, in any conversation with the authorities,” the statement continued.

“We admit that the artiste did become a bit boisterous during an exchange with the airport authorities, but this was merely a result of the stress of the journey. At the time he landed in Jamaica, Rygin King had been travelling for 17 hours straight to make it to the island from Belgium via Costa Rica.

“The stress of the arduous journey, coupled with the reality that the artiste had been forced to cut his tour abruptly, losing shows in Europe and Africa, and racking up significant financial losses, created a potentially contentious situation. These factors may have led to frayed nerves, and for that, we apologise to the fans, the hardworking airport staff and security, as well as the authorities.

“We respect the members of the hardworking staff at the airport who are working on the front lines trying to keep Jamaicans safe from the threat posed by the coronavirus,” the statement further read.

“We also admit that a police officer did come to the health section of the airport, but the officer was not explicitly summoned to reprimand the artiste as the slanderous voice note suggests.

“Finally, we respect the valiant efforts of the Government in trying to contain the virus because we have seen the first-hand media accounts in Europe. We would never deliberately put our fellow countrymen in danger, or cause disrespect to the prime minister or Minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange who have shown (the artiste) a lot of respect,” the statement continued.

Rygin King is said to have exercised the option to self-quarantine, locking himself away from his friends and family for a period of 14 days.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Health and Wellness has advised that it is investigating reports that a Jamaican entertainer entered the island this week without declaring his travel history to a high-risk country coronavirus-wise..

In addressing a question at a press conference at Jamaica House on Wednesday, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, acknowledged having heard the report, and stated that an investigation has been launched into the matter.

Tufton warned about the consequences of individuals making false declarations.

“We expect, and it is required by law, that persons coming into the country, particularly as it relates to countries of origins that are on the restricted list, that they declare, and if they fail to declare, then they would have committed a breach,” said Tufton.

The disease has spread to every continent except Antarctica, infecting more than 214,800 people globally and killing over 8,730, according to data compiled by the Centre for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Governments around the world have implemented travel restrictions, with border closures and lockdowns in some cases in efforts to slow the spread of the virus.