Party animal producer Kurt Riley and veteran Dancehall deejay Junie Ranks have shown their support for Matthew Rodney, a bartender from St. James, who says he is now on a mission to make sure tourism workers are unionized, to following his unceremonious dismissal from the S Hotel in Montego Bay.
Rodney had, in early June, shared a video that later went viral, of himself in a crude rant, accusing hotel management of racism and abuse of power while saying he had been fired on unfair grounds, charges that establishment owner Chris Issa later denied.
However, Rodney, in what appears to be a one-man army, took to the streets of Montego Bay this morning in what he said was a crusade to prevent continued abuse by hotel workers across island, who are subject to unfair contracts, often face racism and classism, and have to endure unpaid overtime, no health plan and being dominated by disrespectful foreign managers, among others.
This morning, after Irie FM shared a series of videos of Rodney on Jimmy Cliff Boulevard protesting outside the 120-room hotel, Riley and Junie commented on the matter and expressed their support.
“Fight fi yu rights my g. Tan like those of yore before our era. They died and get beat so we could have a so called better life and they had kids and bills like us today and they didn’t care. Uno fi vex a Jamaican woman. When she vexes, she has no business who hears because she doesn’t care. Bullshit is bullshit. As simple as that. Di likki likke ine dem a villain. Hang out with a co-worker,” Riley said.
“Brother, I’ve been there in real life. It’s real. It’s happened to me more than once and I’m sending everyone who brought it up dem mada. A mi neva gives shit. I actually refuse to deal with this in my country or anywhere.The hotel worker gets shitty pay and I bet you seh if it all stops.Just like a person I used to work for,when i don’t see a raas and i leave with no intention of coming back they can pay me more money is that it i always say no and get the hell out just because i cut you use money to stay so why when i asked i didn’t get it? My g mi a support yu,” Riley added.
Junie, for her part, said she was waiting to see the level of support Rodney would get from her compatriots.
“Let me see how many of your siblings friends and coworkers are coming to support you I’m waiting stand up stand up for your good people 👍 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏,” she wrote.
The S Hotel, which is the sister hotel to the Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston, opened in January 2019. The beachfront hotel was built by NCB Investments in 1995 and was jointly owned by the NCB Staff Pension Fund and the State National Insurance Fund (NIF). The NIF owned 49% of the shares and the CBN Staff Pension Fund owned the remaining 51%. At the time it was operated by the Superclubs resort group under the Breezes hotel brand, until it closed in 2009. It was sold to Christopher Issa, who is a lawyer, in 2011.
When Rodney’s video rant surfaced online days later, the S Hotel posted a statement on its Instagram page, noting that the hotel and its other properties do not tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment against its employees. or its clients, and that, among other things, all of its team members are Jamaican.
“Having carefully reviewed reports of an incident at S Hotel Jamaica in Montego Bay on June 4, 2022 between team members, one of whom became disgruntled, involving hotel guests, we are aware of a recently published social media smear campaign,” he said.
“We share this public statement denouncing these false accusations in which this former employee brought. He sent his video to a blogger who continues to spread these vicious and harmful lies about our staff, our team and our community,” he added.
In his defense, Christopher Issa of Crissa Enterprises, under which the hotel operates, said Rodney worked at the establishment and was on probation when he began fraternizing with guests instead of reporting his interactions with them. them “short and sweet,” just like the hotel’s policy, according to a Gleaner report.
Issa said the day Rodney was fired he saw the bartender galloping “with trays on his head, putting on a show for two female guests, while leaving the bar unattended”.
But Rodney had insisted in his viral video that he had not acted unprofessional when interacting with guests and also objected to the way he was approached by the hotelier.