Poet chides Gov’t for MPs 200% salary increase
The Calabash International Literary Festival, which was held last weekend in Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth, was not only a vibrant celebration of culture, art, and literature but also turned into a platform for individuals to voice their concerns and criticisms against the Government.
Many of those who took a shot at the open mic session moderated by Professor Carolyn Cooper used the opportunity to openly express their disapproval of the current state of governance in the country, especially with the recently announced salary increase for members of parliament. Among them was popular Jamaican dub poet Ras Takura who recited his poem Praedial Larceny. Speaking with THE STAR following his performance, he said that it was the opportune time to voice his grouse with the current administration.
"It was the right forum because it was where the people gathered. The appropriate time to speak out against the government is always when the thing is happening and that is when the words will be most effective. The first audience that you see or that you are at, it is good to use that audience to sell the message and the fact that the thing is current, and I feel like I am voicing an opinion that most people share," he said.
His piece delved into matters including the theft of agricultural produce to the theft of tax dollars. He expressed hope to see a Jamaica led by an "honest government".
"I'd like to see a government that does not take the people for fools. If you are able to tell the teachers and nurses and other civil servants that you cannot make adjustments to their salary in terms of an increase, then when they do get an increase, it always a 10 per cent or 15 per cent, and then you turn around as a government and give yourselves an increase of 200 per cent. Then that is a slap to the face," Ras Takura reasoned.
"We know that the civil servants, from the teachers, nurses, police, firefighters are really the ones keeping production alive in the country. They are the ones that are really working. The Governor General does not do anything. He does not have a portfolio. He is a representative of the King and Jamaica bun out the King, so why should the taxpayers in Jamaica be working to pay him? Jamaica has subliminally already abandoned the office of the Governor General. My wish is to see a government that is for working class people," he continued.
Ras Takura was recently awarded the IRAWMA Mutabaruka Award for best Poet/Spoken Word Entertainer. He is the conceptualiser of the Dis Poem Words and Agro Festival, which is held annually in April. Currently, he is working on publishing an anthology of poems.