‘Pastor party’ owes big bills

October 09, 2020

The Jamaica Progressive Party (JPP), the movement that raised eyebrows when it proposed turning Jamaica into a kingdom, has failed to pay its employees who were engaged to help secure general election victory.

The Gilbert Alexander Edwards-led party claimed to have had US$50 million (approximately J$7.2 billion) tied up in the international system, unable to transfer it to Jamaica.

"We were given the assurance by the international financial institution that access would have already been granted. Notwithstanding, we are also aware that given the magnitude and nature of the transaction, delays may be experienced," the JPP said, seeking to explain the delay in paying staff.

Robert Rainford, the JPP's general secretary, said that the party was successful in opening a bank account at a Jamaican financial institution. He, however, refused to disclose the party's source of funds.

"I can't tell you that, it's a non-disclosure agreement with a federal agency overseas," Rainford told THE WEEKEND STAR.

The JPP, before pulling out of the recent general elections, said in its manifesto that it would, among other things, pay off Jamaica's debt, increase minimum wage and abolish income tax. However, staff members are fuming. One person claims to be owed $400,000 since August.

No one can be trusted

"The last meeting they held on September 17, there were over 300 people, including candidates, campaign managers, and people of the executive body and no one has received any money. I feel people need to know what is happening because we live in a world where no one can be trusted, not even these so-called godly persons. I didn't expect this. Why would they come and make big talk and employ people and have no money?" the now former employee said.

Rainford said that there are about 400 workers who are yet to be paid but could not provide an exact date of payment. He, however, said that it is imminent.

"We are a faith-based organisation and will honour all emolument commitments made to our progressors as they deserve to be rewarded as per arrangements made. This will be done in short order as we have overcome the final hurdle and we now await the authorisation for transfer of the funds," the party said.

In a letter dated October 1 and directed to members of staff, Edwards said, "I say to you in parable, we will culminate with a well-deserved crescendo in less time than we could possibly believe. Progressors, I look forward to rewarding each and every one of you at that time."

Other News Stories