PHILIPSBURG:--- Minister of Justice Anna Richardson informed The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) on April 14 by way of an extensive letter that well-known artist Rich Kalashh is not allowed to perform for the international Hip Hop night set for April 21, 2023, due to an analyst by the police department KPSM.
The letter is as follows by the Minister of Justice, "I am writing to you in response to the request made on February 7, 2023, by the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) for event permits to host seven international shows, which includes a Hip Hop and R&B Night on Friday, April 21, 2023, at the Jocelyn Arndetl Festival Village (Hereafter: Festival Village).
When the request was made, the list of artists scheduled to perform at the event was not communicated. The full lineup was only revealed in March 2023. As with all permit requests that may affect public safety, Sint Maarten's police force KPSM has conducted a risk and safety analysis of the Hip Hop and R&B Night. The outcome of this assessment is that negative advice has been rendered by KPSM with respect to the performance of the artist Rich Kalashh, also known as Mr. Errich Sigmar Cristo on Sint Maarten, " stated Richardson in her letter.
She continued, "Earlier this year, Curacao authorities denied a permit for Rich Kalashh to perform on Curacao due to safety concerns. We are aware of previous incidents surrounding this rapper that led to very dangerous situations which included the use of firearms and persons being injured. In fact, an international police organization advised against allowing the artist Curacao, against performing there. The decision of the Curacao authorities was made in part based on that information. It is worth mentioning here that other countries such as Aruba, the Netherlands, and Spain have also denied permits for performances by Rich Kalash.
In accordance with its commitment to maintaining public order, safety, and security, the Ministry of Justice regards any signals regarding potential risks to the community of Sint Maarten with the highest level of seriousness. Considering all available information pertaining to Rich Kalashh, some of which has been shared with you, it has been determined that the requested performance on April 21, 2()23, or any other date during the current Carnival season, poses a potential threat to the safety of the event and its attendants and as such cannot take place. Approval and consequently the permit for the Hip Hop and R&B Night on April 21, 2023, in the Festival Village, will on be granted under the following first condition which is that Rich Kalash will not perform at this event.
Further, I have been informed that there are other artists in the line-up of the event on April 21, 2023, due to their music genre i.e. gangster rap and or trap music and or drill music which often glorify violence, and drug use, have the potential to incite violent or unruly behavior among some attendees. There are two artists in particular in the lineup that hail from Sint Maarten namely Pharoah G and Trixta Savage of which it is known that they have an ongoing feud and therefore pose a security risk. You are requested to ensure that these two rappers and their entourages are kept away from each other during the event and shall not be allowed on stage or backstage while either one is performing. This and other specific conditions for the event will be imposed to minimize the possible risks to public order.
As the applicant for the permit - together with the promotor - you will ensure that any of the artists that have a feud with each other will not meet each other at the event and will directly leave the event (and) after their performance. It is deemed relevant to emphasize that as the holder of the permit SCDF - together with the promotor - is responsible for the safety of those present at the event. You should therefore take all the necessary measures to ensure the safety of the visitors to your event. With the recent shooting incidents at Kimsha Beach and Mullet Bay Beach, it is of great importance that the responsibility of visitors to events is taken highly seriously and that these conditions imposed by the Ministry of Justice will be strictly observed. Needless to say, all instructions from KPSM to maintain public order and public safety must be fully adhered to at all times.
To ensure that the promotor of the Hip Hop and R&B Night on April 21, 2023, is fully informed of the conditions attached to the granting of the permit, I request that you share a copy of this letter with the organizer as soon as possible. As a recovering tourist destination, and with Carnival being one of the country's flagship events that bring people from near and far to Sint Maarten, we cannot afford any incidents that could potentially damage the image of the island and would lead to the conclusion that the safety of guests is not guaranteed during big events, such as Carnival.
I recognize that there may be some disappointment with SCDF and or the promotor of the event with the decision not to allow Rich Kalashh to perform and with including certain conditions to the event permit. However, I would hope that everyone can understand that these decisions were made with the safety and well-being of all attendees as the top priority and that the measures taken are necessary to ensure that the event can proceed safely and successfully.
In closing, wish to reiterate that the practice of promoting performances of artists for shows on Sint Maarten without receiving the necessary permits must be discontinued immediately. For future events, you are urged to provide the line-up of artists in a timely manner so that the relevant authorities can conduct a risk and safety analysis in advance and inform you of the outcome. Promotors and SCDF should refrain from advertising their event and selling tickets until an event permit is issued by the Minister of Justice," stated the minister on April 14, 2023.