Dancehall and Reggae singer Tanya Stephens is urging Jamaicans to join a protest today against the restructured salaries of Jamaica’s political directorate.
The demonstration, advertised for an 8 a.m. start at Emancipation Park in Kingston, will be missed by Stephens, who is in Antigua for a show. But that didn’t stop her from charging followers to go and voice their disapproval of the recently-announced salary increases.
“Unno need fi get up and mek unno bumbocl–t voices heard…” she told viewers on Instagram Live last night. “Stop a expect fi have a f–king miracle or a bumbocl–t hero… Dey have one protest tomorrow (today). Git up off unno raascl**t batty and go out deh go protest with dem. Write pon one placard…”
Announced on Tuesday by Finance Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke, the increases form part of the public sector compensation system. Prime Minister Andrew Holness will earn $25.3 million annually effective April 1, 2023, a massive bump from his $9.1 million salary in 2021. The deputy prime minister and opposition leader have moved from a little over $8 million in 2021 to $22.7 million. Meanwhile, Clarke is now receiving $21.7 million, up from the $7.4 he earned in 2021.
The increases, to span over three years from 2022, will cost taxpayers a total of $1.7 billion.
Finance Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke (left) and Prime Minister Andrew Holness
Stephens challenged folks to take their outrage beyond social media to spark positive change.
“Most of unno a siddung a unno yard and unno expect somebody else fi effect an outcome weh unno want, but each movement weh people do towards that, unno protest it. Unno protest we more than how unno protest the government and den want the outcome weh unno want.
“We have platforms, yes. but when all a we talk together, all a we louder than any of a we… So, if you really have a problem with this. git up.”
The Other Cheeksinger is among a set of modern political advocates including ZJ Rush, Spragga Benz and Queen Ifrica, but as she described, it’s a draining role when the mass is silent.
“Come outta Spragga ears. Come outta Rush ears. Come outta (ZJ) Sparks ears. Come outta my bloodcl–t ears and git up offa yuh ass and come outta yuh house and puddung yuh remote and walk go outta road… Every single one a unno mi buck say, ‘Yes, keep doing it’, but none a unno nuh waan stand up beside a we and do it… Unno weak, unno spineless, and unno want other people fi fight unno battles and that’s why it a go lose because the whole a unno deh pon the same side but unno mek Andrew feel like unno agree with him.”
In April, Stephens declared her full support of Opposition Leader Mark Golding going into the forthcoming general elections, constitutionally slated for 2025.
She’s further proposing that Jamaicans execute a silent protest through a ‘no-movement” day, modeling the government’s stay-at-home mandate that pervaded the earlier periods of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also voicing disdain over the restructured salary packages are artists like Bounty Killer, who made a slew of online posts, the latest stating: “DIE HEARTED PNP & JLP ARE THE ONES WHO SECURED THESE PPL SEATS THEY HELPS TO SECURE THE MORE POVERTY FOR THE POOR WE NEED TO GET RID OF MIND SET LIKE THOSE WE NEED DIE HEARTED JAMAICANS LIKE MYSELF CASE CLOSE🤐.”
Deejays Bounty Killer (left) and Cham
In his own post, Cham chimed in, “If The Politicians Make So Much And Still Taking A Raise (Not Asking), Why Aren’t Teachers Getting A Raise Of Salary As Well? 🤷🏽♂️😳”
The ‘Gargamel’ Buju Banton said in part, “If we speak for our country, our fellow man, we are too hype, but u willing to sit and watch our country being destroyed by crooks? Who pay themselves like kings? And the corruption continues..”
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