Bishop Dr Alvin Bailey, head of the Holiness Christian Church, chairman of Jamaica CAUSE and leader of the Jamaica Evangelical Alliance, has called on all Jamaicans to boycott the 2023 Labour Day activities on May 23 in protest against the massive increase in salaries granted to parliamentarians.
“I call on all citizens to stay home and use the day to labour in their personal spaces, instead of engaging in the public activities as outlined by the government,” he said
This action, Bishop Bailey said, will send a strong message to the political leaders that Jamaicans should not be taken for granted or exploited, and serve in the interest of our society and the well-being of all Jamaicans are the reasons they were elected.
According to the clergy, the Labour Day holiday, which has been rooted in the thinking that workers should be recognised for their contribution to nation building, while creating activities to improve the physical spaces in the country and boost national pride, has now been undermined by what he said was an act of greed.
In a previous statement, Bishop Bailey promised to lead a public campaign, with the support of the church community, private sector and well thinking Jamaicans, to speak out against what he described as an injustice to the citizens and to keep protesting until the new salary package has been reviewed.
The huge salary increases for politicians were announced in Parliament on Tuesday by Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke. In some cases, the salaries for the political directorate has been increased by more than 200 per cent.
The increases to parliamentarians will cost $1.7 billion over three years.
According to Bishop Bailey, “The unconscionable, disgraceful, and insensitive increases in salaries that the minister of finance announced were to benefit a select number of privileged public servants. This, to my mind, is an insult and a slap in the face of the average working class Jamaican.”
He went on to note that the significant salary increases were symbolic of an acceleration in moral decay, aimed at widening the class structure, while being insensitive to the plight of the Jamaican people, who continue to suffer from economic hardships.
“Contrary to the Information Minister Robert Morgan’s statement, the process might not be simple but the proposed new salaries can and must be rolled back, as to pursue that plan will hurt the future of our country, for the short-term personal benefit of a few,” Bishop Bailey said.