In Jamaica, Graffiti Is a National Crime

08.17.11 Bucky Turco

LA Lewis is a dancehall personality and Jamaica’s most well known, if not only, consistent graffiti artist… although you’ll never catch him saying that. And for good reason. The government has fined him $70,000 (JMD), a little over $800 USD, for a string of vandalism, claiming he violated the island country’s National Solid Waste Act.

He claims the ubiquitous markings, which can be seen all over the island on a variety of surfaces, are the work of fans, despite their uniformity and has flatly refused to pay. Lewis has three weeks to comply or will have to appear in court. There’s also other charges pending and he could face an additional $700,000 in fines.