Starting some engines that have been asleep for years

Starting some engines that have been asleep for years


Sunday, January 26, 2020

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As 2020 rolls on, my success rate is still low, but I am happy to report one success that could boost our expectations for a much-improved year and timely responses.

In my postal district the frequency of opening of the post office was moved from five days per week to one day (Thursday). This was creating a problem for the thousands of people living in the area. I decided to call the Postmaster General (PMG) Michael Gentles (whom I had never met) and the switchboard was answered promptly and politely.

They were having a problem transferring calls internally, but the operator asked me to leave my name and number and she would deliver it to Mr Gentles. Within 10 minutes I got a call from the PMG. He asked me what the recommended solution could be and I said let us try Tuesdays and Thursdays.

He said he would discuss this with the regional director and advise me. Within 15 minutes he called to say that the regional director was in agreement and as of January 21, 2020 the Tuesday/Thursday opening would be in effect. I thanked him. Progress, and no roads needed to be blocked nor hard words exchanged. Sincere congratulations.

So now I go back to the previous status of areas of dissatisfaction:

1. The intermittent FLOW service was reported to the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) which wrote to the provider but at the time of writing they had received no response from FLOW. The letter to FLOW also indicated my name and the fact that I had previously contacted the CEO of FLOW more than once. They have my number, and good manners dictate that a response to the CAC and to me be made; that is simple 'brought upsy', but perhaps I know nothing of business ethics.

2. Scotiabank, in similar manner, has made no response even though it has my money, and presumably all of my details as a customer for 49 years. My last attempts resulted in four failures and three were at Scotiabank locations. The new digital control arrangements seem to have overtaken the solid relationships of local customer service previously built, and I think that sometime in 2020 I will have to extract my testicles from their tentacles. In true Ian Fleming style “James Bond will leave Octopussy”.

3. The road rage continues and we are all awaiting the minister's announcement of a working app so that pictures and videos of the miscreants can be forwarded to the relevant enforcement authorities. In addition, I recommend a basic road code/ reading test on the spot for drivers of PPVs when stopped by the police.

4. There has been no response from any service stations regarding the availability of compressed air, and I wonder if they really care. In the absence of any reaction motorists will have to consider boycotts and other peaceful protests.

I will now move to the current situations:

a. The road from Norbrook to Papine via Woodford and passing by Peter's Rock and Freetown, through Maryland has been reported over the past two years to the NWA and the two MPs Delroy Chuck and Juliet Holness who have given some responses to the situation.

b. Some repairs were done, but the worst parts that can cut tyres (a stretch of some 500m) remain outstanding.

c. We can provide a number of citizen volunteers to patch these areas, but need some sand, gravel and cement/asphalt to complete the job.

d. We also need some intervention from the local government inspectors to ensure that waste water and debris from churches and private construction are properly contained and not allowed to further damage the road. Also on the lower Norbrook side, the unauthorised cutting of access tracks to squatter housing is undermining the road and has already posed a danger by forcing motorists to run very close to the edge. Rules need to be enforced.

I appeal to our representatives to support citizens' efforts to keep our community free from all types of danger. We are a farming and residential community with fairly good transportation to and from Papine and Norbrook, so help us to maintain our safety.

On Sunday, January 6, 2020, the Sunday Gleaner listed some 12 complaints that the JMEA had indicated were affecting exports, and urged the Government to correct them. With due respect to my colleagues in the JMEA, at least six of the “complaints” are firmly in the hands of the private sector to solve without Government implementing yet another bureaucracy. Innovation, invention, marketing, and joint ventures are initiatives firmly in the hands of business owners and entrepreneurs.

An article in the same publication written by Douglas Orane entitled 'Baking a bigger pie by being more productive, rather than fighting over how to slice it' suggested managerial initiatives that should improve outcomes. He offered two case studies that more than adequately illustrated his points one in the sugar industry, and the other in manufacturing at GraceKennedy. Thanks very much, Douglas, and I hope others will understand your illustrations.

My interpretation after reading the JMEA and Douglas Orane articles is that we clearly have a management problem on our hands. It is typified by a blind following of old practices; a less than adequate understanding of the worldwide environment in which we do business; a lack of vision; and a failure to embark on a mission that sets us a challenge. This is where the private sector needs to step up and be counted. I expect a major backlash from these statements, but hopefully the ensuing dialogue will start some engines that have been asleep for years.

— Reprinted from the current edition of online discussion publication Public Opinion

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