Sunday 29th July, 2007

Peter Quentrall-Thomas
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People tolerate too much

I’m afraid it’s all bad news this week, folks.

No T&T maps

Go to and see the worst map of T&T I’ve ever seen, and this is UWI! Go to and click on Tourism. Go to Getting Around in Trinidad & Tobago.

You can find out about bus services for the disabled, but don’t look for a map. Isn’t that incredible, people?

There are no street maps of T&T online! The Government has them; WASA has them; EBC has them. CSO has them.

And we have paid the salaries of the people to prepare them already, but we aren’t important enough to have them.

So which party is going to promise to share them freely with us, the taxpayers, if they are elected?

Unfair action

I see Tobago Express pilots are causing untold hardship to innocent third parties, ie, passengers, in the pursuit of a pay rise.

Even worse, the UWI lecturers are holding their students to ransom in pursuit of their pay negotiations, showing how totally lacking they are in terms of creativity.

Personally, I would love to see the industrial relations law in this country modified, so that it is illegal to take action against any party who is not a signatory to a pay agreement.

If you want to get third parties on your side, then appeal to them for support; don’t punish them. Otherwise, sort your problems out yourselves.

If you don’t like the pay, leave the job when you finish your contract.

2020 Police

In the UK, the police have a hand-held radar gun which they just point at the car registration plate, and it will give them, instantly, details of the car, insurance, tax, etc, and the driver’s licence, including the photo.

You see how far behind our police chiefs have kept us with their aversion to technology?

Road to Toco

Well, the Ministry of Broken Promises has really excelled with the road to Toco.

I drove to Salybia recently, and I was shocked to see the construction project to dual the road from O’Meara to Wallerfield looking virtually abandoned.

That project has been going on for years, and not a word from the ministry on its status. (And still no Web site where you could read about it!).

But there was worse to come. There are new retaining walls built along the Toco road, and they are not backfilled, so motorists are still in single file trying not to fall into the excavation.

They have been that way so long, bush is growing in the excavation! And the crowning glory is the fact that instead of taking the opportunity to straighten the road when doing road works, the ministry just blindly follows the old twisty donkey cart route.

Maybe we should just give a cheque to the Chinese and let them fix our road system. The Ministry of Broken Promises certainly can’t do it.

Ferry disgrace

On Thursday, July 19, at 2.30 pm, I went to the Tobago ferry terminal office on Wrightson Road, to pay for a booking.

Nothing prepared me for the bedlam I saw in the ticket hall. The conditions the customers were forced to endure were appalling.

People were packed into that small hall like sardines; the elderly and mothers with children forced to wait in lengthy queues.

Other woes were non-functioning air conditioning; one fan for hundreds of people; four booths to issue boarding passes and one person working; six booths for cashiers and one person working.

They had to have the police there to maintain order. It was like a scene out of a Palestinian refugee camp.

I was told that a new facility was being built. What has that got to do with conditions today? The air-conditioning could be fixed today.

A “Take-a ticket” system could be implemented TODAY.

VISA and Linx payments, which don’t involve cash, could be implemented TODAY.

Why must people suffer one more day than is necessary?

Waiting on a new building does not help the thousands of people who need service TODAY.

If the people aren’t being treated like human beings by the staff of the port in the old building, what makes you think it will be any different in the new building?

The managers of the ferry service should hang their heads in shame. It is a national disgrace the way people were treated.

How does a new building or a new ferry make a bad system good?

It’s a state of mind more than a question of resources. The old days of indifference to the customer must go.

If staff don’t want to help the customer, then they have no place in a 2020 organisation, and that needs to be spelt out loud and clear.

Pay them off; get rid of them. Send the message out that “indifference” will not be tolerated, either by managers, supervisors or workers.

Why didn’t the supervisor on that shift roll up his or her sleeves and help? Where was she or he?

Certainly not where the customers were. Will she or he be disciplined?

I sometimes wish the word “tolerance” was removed from our national motto.

I understand it means race, religion, etc, but it has gone too far. People are “tolerating” too much.

If the manager won’t deal with the problem, he or she deserves to be fired. There is no room for indifference any more.

Indifference should be a dismissible offence just like lateness, swearing, etc. The port has the monopoly because of the Government subsidy on the Tobago run.

No one can compete against a subsidised state enterprise. Is it any surprise the ferry service also comes under the Ministry of Broken Promises.

Another example of the abuse of a monopoly. Let’s get with the programme. “Subsidise the customer, not the company.”

Just a thought.

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