No place for the Pontius Pilate mentality

Monday, October 22, 2012    

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THE capacity to make do with very little, to 'tun yuh han mek fashion' and laugh at ourselves is among the more admirable traits of the human condition.

We are reminded of this by the story in the Sunday Observer regarding the plight of 30 garbage collectors contracted to the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) who, in the absence of any provision for them, have made a row of trees at the intersection of Passage Fort Drive and the Newlands main road their headquarters.

We are told by our reporter that the solid waste removal workers have "furnished" their "office" with an old desk and broken chairs so their supervisors can sit and do paperwork such as maintenance of a log book.

They have planted fruit trees and vegetables — telling our reporter of their joy at a recent reaping.

But of course, there are the downsides. There is no shelter, so the "office" becomes impossible when it rains.

Worse, there is no bathroom, so basic hygiene and sanitation become problematic.

Sure enough, the NSWMA says it should not be held responsible to provide for contracted workers.

"The contractors would deal with their employees," says Ms Shauna Guthrie, community relations manager at the NSWMA.

But really, it's not that simple. If it is that the private contractors should be held responsible, they should be made to do so by the relevant authorities, including the NSWMA, local authorities, the Public Health Department, and whoever else.

To many, this issue may seem a minor matter in the context of the many problems threatening to overwhelm us. But these are the little things that will accumulate to become a catastrophe.

This business of our civil service and political leadership simply looking the other way until something gets up and bites is far too widespread in the society.

Far too often, it seems to this newspaper, people at the lower rungs of the social and economic ladder, like those garbage collectors in Portmore, are left to fend for themselves with officialdom remaining seemingly oblivious.

On matters like this, our leaders can't continue to simply wash their hands, like Pontius Pilate.





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