THE lady was very obviously from the 'uptown' side of the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA).
"Mr. Wignall," she said,"is someone in this increasingly sick country intent on killing off our productive citizens? They have been killing doctors, nurses, successful businessmen, administrators, in addition to women and little children. I know that you are not a believer, but is there a demon unleashed in this country?"
I had no easy answer that I believed would be reflective of the 'truth' or what would satisfy her. I said, "It is my belief that just as how a drunken father and a mother who prefer partying to parenting will eventually signal to their young children that there is no leadership, there are similarities in the wider national picture.
"The children will 'bruk out' because there will be no effective sanctions for bad behaviour. Somehow the criminal element in the society has been sensing that this Administration is not all that serious about effective crime fighting, so that element has been on a spree."
"So, you have no answers," she said as she walked away.
A young man nearby, one of the perennially unemployed, made a suggestion. "It easy, you know. Until a big man in government get lick, di ting nah stop!"
Others nearby loudly voiced their agreement.
"Gentlemen," I said, "have you fully thought through what you are saying? Every day di whole a onnu a sey police box oonu up and kill innocent man. None a oonu love police.
"Think of what would happen should a so-called big man in government get murdered. Think hard! Are you all prepared for the potential backlash when the police and the army begin to patrol various inner-city communities where they suspect the killers may have resided? Are you prepared for more than box-down, kick- up and nuff shot pon innocent and criminal? Think!" I said.
Another one said, "Every day poor people a get murder by gunman an police, but uptown nuh business. Some uptown people get kill and everybody a talk."
I turned to him and said, "Since 1962 when we gained Independence, we have not moved to seeing the lives of all Jamaicans as precious and to be treasured. So we have these foolish arguments about who is more important. A lot of successful Jamaicans came from extremely humble beginnings. If the young child from Trench Town who would eventually become a neurosurgeon in adulthood was killed in his teens, you know what we would have said. Wutliss boy, criminal boy. Think!
"As far as I see it, we have always lacked effective leadership. This time around, the criminal element sees the type of leadership as one 'liberating' them," I said.
Let's hope Digicel gets it right
As much as LIME has tried to make inroads against its main competitor in the mobile phone market, from my experience, Jamaicans are not immediately prepared to dump Digicel.
For this reason, it is incumbent on Digicel to live up to the faith that Jamaicans have placed in it. As much as I have criticised Digicel, I have never given up on its service. I still have my Digicel phone for the very simple reason that most of my contacts also have Digicel phones.
Of late there have been very obvious problems. In the latter part of last week I made many attempts to contact two individuals through their Digicel numbers for the purpose of sourcing additional information on a matter that I eventually carried in a column.
All attempts went to voice mail. At street level people were complaining to me about the matter because of the simple fact that most Jamaicans are still loyal to Digicel, the company which revolutionised the mobile telecoms market in Jamaica. Cable and Wireless (eventually branded as LIME) was forced to step up its game.
But there was another problem. One would call a Digicel phone and immediately get the response, 'Please check to ensure that...' It was the standard response that one would get when one's credit was exhausted. The reality was, on checking the credit level on the phone, in about five instances with me, my credit level was, at its very least, $75.
One week ago, the OUR got involved via the following press release,
'The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) has given Digicel until Thursday, January 24, 2013 to respond to customer complaints about their inability to set up calls successfully though the telecommunications provider's network.
'The OUR notes the numerous customer complaints in the media as well as through calls to its office over the last few weeks, specifically about calls going directly to voicemail without the call party's phone registering a ring. This incurs a charge to the calling customer, without giving them the option to terminate the call. The OUR has asked Digicel to address in their response:
* The actions being taken to address the issues and what remedies are offered to the affected consumers;
* A timeframe within which normality will be restored, as well as a plan of action to address such concerns to limit future occurrences;
* The company's policy for the treatment of calls as well as the implications that such a policy has on the termination, billing and customer notification in respect of such calls.
'As soon as the information is provided by the telecommunications company, the OUR will communicate this to customers in keeping with its stated objective to ensure that consumers of utility services enjoy an acceptable quality of service at reasonable cost.'
Today is January 24, and we wait with bated breath on the response from Digicel.
I would also like to add that, at times, text messages have to be resent multiple times before the process is completed. Although this does not incur any charges, this is certainly new to Jamaicans who have grown to know Digicel as the company always at the 'cutting edge' of telecoms technology.
Get it right, Digicel. Many Jamaicans are waiting on you.