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October 27, 2020
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October 27, 2020

Please bring back my mail person

By Vernon Khelawan, vkmoose@gmail.com

It has gotten worse. I am speaking about our mail delivery system. The reason: I don’t know and I cannot explain why. Let’s just say it is simply atrocious. This past week I received a bunch of mail, including several utility bills, bank, and credit cards statements etc.

What is most irritating about the situation, but at the same time puzzling, is the obvious question. Who is to blame? Is it the state agency or the post office? This lack of service lies somewhere in there.

During this pandemic time, employees of several state enterprises are being paid their full salary and as it seems, for much less work. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Mail delivery in the area in which I live used to be twice weekly. Believe me when I tell you it is now once every two weeks or collect it yourself at your nearest post office! The seemingly mysterious thing about this situation is the timeline between the bill date and when I receive it.

Here’s an example. In my most recent pickup at the Post Office on October 20, 2020, there was a WASA bill dated June 6, 2020 and due on July 15, 2020.

Then there was another bill, TSTT this time. The bill is dated August 5, 2020 without a due date. When it is due befuddles me.

The banks are also involved. I got a credit card bill giving me a due date of September 21 and a bill from T&TEC showed me a bill date of September 7, 2020 with a due date of September 26. I repeat: all the bills were picked up by me on October 20, 2020.

Is it a communications problem? I don’t know. But this is unacceptable in 2020.

But bills and the postal service is not our only problem. When we were made aware of the global COVID-19 pandemic last March, seven months ago, all sorts of things happened locally that bent our lives into all shapes—shutdowns, public health regulations, joblessness, no school—when the pandemic hit quite a large number of our citizens were out of the country and there was a real scramble to get back home. But when our borders were closed on March 27 the real problems started.

Students, foreign workers and even those on vacations were all trapped outside. The urge to come home did not seem to meet with any sense of urgency and even today there are so many stranded overseas.

But it was not until a few weeks ago when a former Tunapuna resident, 85-year-old Kedar Gadjharsingh died while awaiting an answer to his several exemption applications. He died in the United Kingdom.

It would seem that this death prompted the authorities to jump into action and set up a few repatriation flights. I guess that was done to calm those stressed and restless families.

I am not a transportation expert although I covered the airlines for decades, neither am I a logistics professional, but I would like those in charge like the Minister of National Security to explain why we have all those Caribbean Airlines 737s lying idle at Piarco for so long.

Wouldn’t it have been more practical to arrange repatriation flights from New York and Miami and nearer home Jamaica, Barbados and Guyana during April, May and even June and bring almost every national back?

Although they would not admit it, that death, I believe, accelerated action and now we have had a few repatriation flights recently. But there are shortcomings in the current process.

Many people seeking exemptions are faced with an impersonal voice recording, which promises to get back to the caller but never does.

Then we are not sure how the exemptions work. What is the order of priority? The public just doesn’t know. Is there a bias? We do not know. I would want to believe that the authorities would want to do everything in their power to bring our citizens back home. Not so?


Editor’s Note: this column was written before the Prime Minister’s announcements last Saturday.