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Feb 24, 2017

U.S. Turns Back Supa G from Texas

Belizean entertainer Supa G is back in the country after being denied entry into the United States earlier this week.  The popular artist, born Lensford Martinez, was traveling to Houston, Texas at the invitation of the Houston Tri-country Regional Black Chamber of Commerce when he was turned back by immigration officials at the port of entry.  Supa G was representing Belize as a cultural ambassador and was not scheduled to perform at the event.  But Martinez was refused entry on the basis that he was not in possession of a P-Three Visa, which is required of every artist or entertainer visiting that country.  Supa G returned to Belize on Thursday.  Earlier today, News Five spoke by phone with manager Cyril Uruwei who explained what transpired upon Supa G’s arrival on U.S. soil.

 

On the Phone: Cyril Uruwei, Manager for Supa G

“One February twenty-second, Supa G was on his way to Houston to represent Belize as a cultural ambassador, not to perform. The Houston Tri-Country Regional Black Chamber of Commerce invited him to join honored guests of the Love Foundation at the fourth annual confrecne and awards gala. He was denied entry into the United States as a result of not owning a P-Three Visa. Every artist, every musical entertainer, if they are entering the U.S., they need to go in holding a P-Three visa. He couldn’t return back to Belize on that same day because there were no flights leaving Houston after the investigation so he had to return the following day, which is Thursday, the twenty-third. Isani, as his new manager, this has been a learning experience. I wanna highlight, just as Supa G has set the stage for many Belizean artists, and again as unpleasant as this situation might be, other musicians will benefit at his experience. And he is doing great, he is okay. This is not an end to his musical career in the United States. One of the supervisors at the US Immigration Department assured us that this is not an end and that there are artists with offenses on their record that are still allowed entry after such experience so we are very hopeful. At this moment, working closely with the Love Foundation to acquire his P-Three Visa. I wanna state for the record that an artist cannot acquire a P-Three Visa on his own; it has to be acquired by an organization on his behalf. So we are grateful that the Love Foundation has agreed to work with us on that matter.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“There is a concern that has come to the attention of the media that in the past Belizean artists have traveled to the United States on a visitor’s visa and have been performing at venues in various cities for that matter. And the concern is that they would have needed a specific visa to be able to work, in a sense. I know that that may not have necessarily been the case with your artist, but would you be able to speak on that notion?”

 

On the Phone: Cyril Uruwei

“I have heard of it, but not sufficient information to say that I am knowledgeable of it. We want to use this opportunity; we want to look at it from a positive standpoint, this experience again….other artists/musicians, this will inform them to do what needs to be done and that’s my answer to your question.”

 

Supa G is not the first Belizean musician to be turned back from a U.S port of entry.  In 2016, Ernestine Carballo and soca artist TR Shine were also denied entry into that country.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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