A slew of Dancehall artists, foremost among them, Bounty Killer, have expressed outrage at the recent salary hike announcement for Jamaica’s political directorate.
On Tuesday, Bounty Killer expressed contempt for the political pay hike, while asking about the raise for “teachers, nurses, police, firefighters and other public servants”, after the initial announcement was made by Finance Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke that Members of Parliament, Cabinet Ministers, Mayors and Parish Councillors would be given exponential increases in salaries.
By Wednesday, The Poor People Governor was expressing fury, following additional news reports that the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) had issued a statement saying it “strongly disagrees with the massive salary increases for parliamentarians” after initially expressing “no objection” to the announcement of the raise.
“People unuh watch this. Real politricks move ya now, bcuz if both sides of the house doesn’t sign off on it then it couldn’t have been passed enuh. Both the opposition and ruling party salaries increased mean that they all agreed on this raise. Is only bcuz the public backlash came now they trying to use the opportunity as a way of scape goat to manipulate the ppl mind,” Bounty stated.
“Jah know star JLP and PNP they both say hell to the P dem nuh like ppl. Unuh better start to learn all a unuh die hearted supporters unuh going to die in hardship bout ya or unuh better start crossing the floor and intimidate dem. Ntn name switching in politics it name greener grass and better opportunities for the country and ppl future benefits 🤐,” the Anytime artist added.
Bounty Killer spared no punches when PNP General Secretary Dr. Dayton Campbell came under his post to defend his party.
“Not true Killa. This didn’t require a vote plus the JLP has 49 MPs so even if a vote was required the PNP 14 couldn’t stop it,” Dr. Campbell had written.
Bounty did not respond directly to the General Secretary, and told one of his followers that he deliberately chose to ignore Campbell.
“Big f-ckery him (Dayton Campbell) a chat u notice I didn’t even respond. He’s on one of either sides. Mi nuh PNP nor JLP. Mi a poor ppl governor I’m only concerned about my Jamaicans, not parliamentarians,” the Warlord declared.
Under the new salary adjustment, Members of Parliament have been rewarded with a 230 percent increase in salary, and will take home $14.2 million (US$95,000), up from J$4.3 (US$29,000).
Additionally, Cabinet ministers have received a 230 percent increase in salary up to April 1, 2024, with their annual compensation moving from J$6.9 million (US$46,000) in 2021 to $22.9 million (US$152,000) next year. As at April 1, 2023, Cabinet ministers be paid an annual salary of J$20.2 million (US$135,000).
The salary for the position of Prime Minister makes a 214 percent rise from $9.1 million (US$61,000) in 2021 to $28.6 (US$191,000) on April 1, 2024. Effective April 1, 2023 the Prime Minister attracts a salary of $25.3 million (US$169,000) annually.
The salaries for the post of Deputy Prime Minister as well as that of the Opposition Leader, have risen by 221 percent, from just over $8 million ($53,000) in 2021 to $25.7 (US$171,000) million effective April 1, 2024. As at April 1, 2023, the deputy prime minister is being paid $22.7 million per year.
But, in what has now been described as an “about-face” by the PNP, the party noted in a release that it was “morally indefensible to grant such a significant raise while so many of our dedicated public servants have seriously lost out and are utterly demoralised by the lack of equity in the recent salary restructuring”, and that the Government must reopen negotiations with unions representing public servants.
Buju Banton was also among the artists who spoke out against the salary increases, though not as robustly as Bounty.
“If we speak for our country our fellow man, we are too hype. But you willing to sit and watch our country being destroyed by crooks? Who pay themselves like kings? And the corruption continues. Jamaicans suffering our voices are not being heard but who can you blame? When you become a fan of a shoes and not sound, meaningful policies…,” Buju shared in a post on Instagram.
Spragga Benz, a long-time critic of the government also pointed to what he said was the unfairness in the decision to give hefty raises to the politicians.
“PM pay jumping From $9.200,000.00 TO $28,000,000.00 … Minister pay jumping FROM $7m to $22 million over 300% increase when poor people minimum wage is creeping to $15hr … WHO APPROVE THIS JAMAICA???” he questioned on IG.
Also expressing disappointment was Teflon Zinc Fence.
“Da da deee da da da 🤦🏾♂️ and the nations most valuable still undervalued & underpaid heights of f-ckery,” he wrote.
Billboard-charting producer Kirk “Koolface” Ford also pointed to what he said was the disunity among public sector workers, who have not demanded better from the government.
“This goes to show that the government and politicians see Jamaicans as one big joke because we’re not unified so a few with disagree and the rest will stay loyal to whichever party they support , Teachers, Nurses ,Police, Fire department, security guards should’ve united together and go on strike a long time ago,” he stated.
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