Twins' tax plan
EXCESSIVE taxation is not the answer to getting Jamaica out of its current economic woes and plugging the shortfall in the country's budget.
That is the sentiment being expressed by dancehall duo Twin of Twins.
The identical siblings, known for their outspoken nature, have been weighing in on the latest round of taxation announced by Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips, including the controversial withdrawal tax, which has earned the ire of many Jamaicans. The tariff, according to the minister, is aimed at raking in $2.5 billion of the $6.6 billion need to close the budget gap.
For the duo, the proposed tax is not only oppressive, but is symptomatic of the scant regard those in authority have for the masses.
"We are heading for a civil war. The Government is deliberately using the ignorance of the majority of the people as a tool. The truth is, people gonna feel it, it gonna get really rough 'roun' here, especially when the people realise they have the power and not those they have elected," said Curly Lox, whose given name is Patrick Gaynor.
They admit that based on country's economic plight, there is no quick fix. Therefore, for them, the answer lies in finding a long-term solution which they surmise lies in a general change in the mindset of the people.
"It starts with a collective effort: knowing what to push and how to push to achieve sustainable growth and development. It can't be how to make a quick buck. We must establish rules of engagement," said Curly Lox.
His brother, Tu Lox, agreed.
"Back in the day, Jamaica championed areas of industry and commerce. Where has all that gone?" said Tu Lox. "We need to go back to that period and learn from what was done. Find that formula, along with the use of modern technologies, to achieve the best results. We have really fallen by the wayside."
They see the attack on potential revenue earnings such as the creative industries as being counter-productive.
"When them lock off music and prevent dance from keep, they leave many persons unemployed. Why not structure the thing and bring this area of the economy in line rather than impose heavy taxes on others?" Curly Lox asked.
The entertainment fraternity did not escape criticism as the brothers pointed out that the music has lost its direction and is no longer a voice for the people.
"We have to get real. Right now, the music is very fake as many artistes have sold out to corporate interests. I am not saying we don't need corporate support, but in order to satisfy them, the music is not as powerful as it once was; it water down... It has lost its sting."
Curly Lox encouraged his fellow artistes to return to the root of the music where "message was the mission", instead of "let's all party, drink and get drunk", while stressing the potential of music to turn things around in the country.
Born Patrick and Paul Gaynor, Twin of Twins hail from the tough Maxfield Avenue area of Kingston. They have established themselves in the dancehall with their biting social commentaries, including their Stir It Up series which have proved to be quite popular.