Renowned Reggae and Dancehall vocalist, Tanya Stephens, is rallying her fellow Jamaicans to actively protest the newly structured and significantly increased salaries of the island nation’s political hierarchy.
Despite being in Antigua for a performance and unable to physically join the demonstration slated for an 8 a.m. kick-off at Kingston’s Emancipation Park, Stephens has passionately urged her fans and followers to stand up and make their dissent known over these freshly announced pay hikes.
On Instagram Live, the artist fervently encouraged her followers, “It’s time to get up and let your voices resonate… Don’t just expect miracles or heroes to appear… There’s a protest tomorrow. Rise and join them. Craft your placards…”
The recent salary increments were disclosed on Tuesday by Finance Minister, Dr. Nigel Clarke, as an integral element of the public sector compensation system. Prime Minister Andrew Holness has seen an enormous increase, from his $9.1 million salary in 2021 to earning $25.3 million annually, effective as of April 1, 2023. Similarly, the deputy prime minister and opposition leader’s pay has risen from just over $8 million in 2021 to $22.7 million. Meanwhile, Clarke’s own remuneration has tripled from $7.4 million in 2021 to now earning $21.7 million.
The vibrant singer sparked a call to action for her followers, challenging them to shift their indignation from social media to tangible steps towards change.
“We all have platforms, sure, but our collective voices are more potent than any one of us… So, if this truly upsets you, act.” She stressed.
Stephens joins the ranks of politically vocal modern artists including ZJ Rush, Spragga Benz, and Queen Ifrica, all of whom advocate for political change. However, she laments the daunting task of advocacy in the face of apparent mass silence.
In a plea for solidarity, she implored, “Join us in making a stand, not just cheering us on from the sidelines… Everyone says, ‘Yes, keep doing it’, but none want to step up and do it alongside us… Stand up for yourselves, otherwise, we’ll lose. We’re on the same side, but the silence is mistaken for agreement with the status quo.”
Last month, Stephens pledged her staunch support for Opposition Leader Mark Golding in the upcoming general elections scheduled for 2025.