Sunday, April 21, 2024

IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST: On work to rule till I get a raise


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ALL READERS please take note: As of today I am on a work to rule.

I am not working outside of business hours, will not answer my phone at home if I don’t recognise the number, am not taking any complaints from staff unless they are in writing – and anybody who calls to curse me over anything published, well . . . .

And I am only ending my protest when I get a substantial pay increase, so if you know my boss, have a word with her.

I have decided on this course of action after reading a report in  Forbes Magazine on an annual survey done by CareerCast of jobs in the United States which rated the job of newspaper reporter as the worst in the country.

Now, I do a lot of writing but I am not a reporter. However, I supervise a number of them and if my bosses expect me to continue I will have to be paid more money – nuff more money.

You all think it is easy being responsible for workers who are described as highly stressed, poorly paid, performing in physical and emotional environments that are dangerous, and on top of all that, occupy posts that are disappearing faster than in any other profession?

I want more money!

Just think about it; they ranked us at the bottom with the other nine worst jobs in ascending order: lumberjack, enlisted military personnel, head cook, broadcaster, photojournalist, prison officer, taxi driver, fire fighter and mail carrier.

Can you imagine if CareerCast had done that analysis in Barbados and had taken into consideration what the current crop of politicians think of us, or that everywhere we turn the police want to lock us up?

Chances are we would be lower than the list could accommodate.

Why do drug traffickers think they’re so smart?

TALKING ABOUT LOWS, since the week started I have been thinking a lot about drug traffickers, and what makes each new one think he or she is smarter than those who tried before.

In my many years of journalism I have seen, or heard of, a multitude of ingenious ways used by traffickers to get illegal drugs into this country. It is now common for cops and customs officers to find them in the rectums, vaginas or stomachs of travellers.

I have seen drugs hidden in the frames of paintings, stuffed in the back of television sets, inside the lining of fridges, freezers and washing machines, even in the cavity of engine blocks. Some have even tried bringing in drugs concealed in hollowed out cricket bats.

I remember early in my career, Customs officers stumbling upon a container load of orange juice that was not juice at all. Each can was filled with ganja.

I also recall local court cases that surrounded attempts by passengers to get through Customs with illegal drugs concealed in their wheelchairs.

From the international news media I have seen photos of breast implants that were filled with cocaine (not a box of breast implants, but some that were actually surgically fitted into women’s chests) and living pet dogs whose stomachs had been filled with cocaine packages.

Then there are the super smugglers, those who move drugs by the boatload – and I am not talking about any “moses” operating off the West Coast of Barbados – or the truckload or planeload. Two months ago US border patrol pulled over a truck coming from Mexico with 15 tonnes of compressed marijuana, and four weeks later US Coast Guard, US Navy and Canadian Navy personnel in a joint operation seized 14 tonnes of cocaine valued at US$424 million.

Most drug smugglers arriving here are not illiterate. They must read the newspapers and/or watch the news on television.

So what would make them believe that the drugs hidden in their appliance or barrel, or can of baby formula, are safe from the prying eyes of the customs officer or the super-sensitive nose of the police dog?

Transport Board, be big and apologise

LIKE CALYPSONIAN Chalkdust sang a few years ago, I’ve been in town too long not to know certain things. One of them is that prudence dictates that one should not rush to the defence of a politician.

But I could not help but wonder what would have possessed the decision-makers at the Transport Board to issue the statement they did this week in response to a complaint from Opposition MP Dwight Sutherland.

In a nutshell, Sutherland complained he paid the board to hire seven buses for a Heroes Day (April 28) picnic and up to midday they had not arrived.

Apparently, in order to deflect the criticism or discredit the MP, the board said:

 Sutherland approached the board on April 15.

 The MP made a payment of $1 700 on April 17.

 That same day he was handed a contract that said full payment was due seven days before the date the buses were required.

 The final payment was accepted on April 23.

 This was a breach of the contract.

Others who paid on time were given priority and the board sent buses to Sutherland when it could.

I would eat my hat if this response was crafted by the board’s public relations personnel. PR people are smarter than that. I smell legalese – the hand of lawyers in the language.

Come on, I am no lawyer, but you can’t accept a man’s money after your deadline and then claim he breached the contract. It would seem to me that either you breached your own contract, or you gave legitimacy to Sutherland’s request for service when you took his money late.

But you can’t hold on to the money, then come into the public domain and suggest that if he had paid early, he would have got his buses on time.

Be big: recognise you messed up and discuss amends. Being “pow’ful foolish” only makes the organisation look stupid – in the Bajan sense of the word.


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