Dancehall selector Oneil ‘Foota Hype’ Thomas is celebrating after being released from the Krome Detention Center in Florida where he was held since December.
He was released last Wednesday.
Thomas was detained last December on arrival at Port Everglades Seaport aboard the ship, Independence of The Seas, from Falmouth, Jamaica, where he had been attending the Welcome to Jamrock cruise. The selector was detained by United States immigration for further review of his travel documents and admissibility status.
“I am very ecstatic, very excited…I can actually call my children when I want to. When I was locked up, I could only talk to a limited amount of people,” he’s quoted by the Jamaica Observer.
‘…not being able to see your children or get proper food, it was hard to deal with.’—Foota Hype
“I had some strong people helping me to operate [like sister Kerry Ann Townsend]…I had some really strong people around me. As an innocent man, not being able to see your children or get proper food, it was hard to deal with,” he said.
He added that the frustration was so heavy, that he almost requested US authorities deport him to Jamaica. “When I saw one month pass, and then two, I said: ‘No, I am going to call the deportation officer and tell them to send me back to Jamaica.’ But, Kerry Ann said: ‘No’ and Mama. So we just fight it,” he said.
Prior to his release, Townsend pleaded with Jamaicans to lobby for her brother’s release given the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) throughout US prisons. His attorney raised similar concerns and made an application for him to be released based on Thomas’s medical status as a diabetic, which makes him vulnerable to the pandemic.
Thomas believes the lockdown is God’s way of avenging him. “When God saw that they locked up an innocent man, He was upset and so He just lock up the whole world with this pandemic,” he said.
Thomas is grateful to everyone who supported him. Thomas, who resides in Fort Lauderdale, said he will be visiting Jamaica “very soon”.