Celia James (seated, third left) makes a point as she talks with fellow Jamaica Labour Party supporters outside Gordon House yesterday. (Photo: Bryan Cummings)
Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) supporters yesterday expressed confidence that Prime Minister Andrew Holness will deliver on the Government’s income tax plan with one women even pledging to sell her house and all earthly possessions to help make it a reality.
On the other hand, supporters of the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) said that, while they are not confident that Holness could pull it off, they are holding him to his promise and are giving him the next three months to do so or they will be taking to the streets to protest. The JLP, during the election campaign, had promised to remove income tax for individuals earning up to $1.5 million annually and had announced that it would become effective by April 1. But, after the election, Finance Minister Audley Shaw announced that the funds that the new Government was planning to use were already used by the previous PNP Administration. Yesterday, during the Ceremonial Opening of Parliament at Gordon House in Kingston, jubilant JLP supporters who had gathered to cheer on their members of Parliament urged Jamaicans to be patient and not lose faith in Prime Minister Holness. “It a go tek care ah; him a go tek care of it, cause a inna Coronation Market mi sell and mi see him come in deh and talk to the people. Wi have faith inna him,” said one woman who gave her name as Sonia. “Well, the $1.5-million plan, I don’t have a problem with it because if the leader can’t go up to it I willing to sell out everything I have inna my house and help him to show how much I love the JLP. I willing to sell out everything,” said Celia James. She, however, reminded Jamaicans that the tax relief would only apply to working people who are earning up to $1.5 million annually. “I wasn’t working, so di $18,000 is not for me, and you have a lot of people who don’t understand that the $18,000 is not for me and dem. But some of dem jus a gwaan craven and gwaan like the $18,000 is for dem, but it is for the working class, and I am not working,” she said. “That’s why I going to help Andrew by selling out my fadda dead lef’ land, my house, mi son goat dem, my kids dem, because I will make the sacrifice for the JLP by doing anything,” she said. The JLP, in making the case for the tax break, had said that workers to whom the measure applied would take home up to $18,000 more each month. Another JLP supporter, who identified herself as Evelyn, said: “Yuh si the $1.5-million thing, is a thing that is going to happen, but the previous Government nuh leave nuh money. Wi know how dem stay. God could a tek one day and mek di world, [but] him tek seven,” she said. According to her, God will inspire the prime minister to fulfil all of his dreams for Jamaica, including the income tax plan. “Humble calf suck di most milk, and I believe that the Almighty is going to favour Andrew and the people who work with to him to give di people what him want. So Jamaica people, don’t follow propaganda; Jamaica people, don’t hungry fi di money, yuh going get the money in Jesus name,” she said Added another JLP supporter: “The first thing about it is that he is a Christian, and Christian nuh tell lie, that’s why he tell the people he’s not promising them, but him jus come inna Government, so it nah go happen overnight, but it a go happen before the year end.” Meanwhile, a PNP supporter said he did not believe that the prime minister could deliver on the promise, as he is not certain where he is going to find the funds. However, he expects Holness to keep his promise. “We expect him to deliver because him come on national TV and promise Jamaicans say him a go give them $18,000, so a three months wi a give dem, and if dem nuh do it by then, wi a go protest,” he warned. “Mi never a look forward to it; a di craven people dem did a expect it, but me still expect him to keep his promise,” another said
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