Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 16th 2014 Contents A28
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, September 16, 2014
I have been living at Maloney
street, Petit Bourg, San Juan for
the past three years.
This area has always been res-
idential for decades but for a
while now, with the increase of
vehicular traffic, Maloney Street
has become an artery leading to
the highway via Aranguez.
Nowadays it is used as a regu-
lar route for maxi taxis and cars
which violate the residents' basic
human right to enjoyment of a
peaceful environment with the
excessively loud music, in excess
of the five decibel level legally al-
lowed between 8 am and 8 pm,
being blasted from their vehicles.
This happens even after 11 pm.
It is extremely disturbing and
causes our building to vibrate. I
know that the police cannot en-
force this law simply because it
happens anytime during the day
and night and they are not al-
I recommend, therefore, that
legislation be enacted to ban the
use of any other audio equip-
ment in a vehicle other than the
piece of equipment the manufac-
turer has installed.
When such law comes into ef-
fect then the authorities would
make it public and provide a
timeline for vehicle owners in vi-
olation to remove the equip-
After the timeline the police
would have to institute road
checks on the highways etc, and
anyone caught with the equip-
ment would be charged and the
police would immediately seize
all.Sir, this is the only way to rid
the citizenry of this terrible men-
ace now plaguing our communi-
This behaviour does not pre-
vail in developed countries. This
country is in a state of degrada-
tion and fast becoming a ghetto
Please do something perma-
nently to deal with this problem.
Giving with one,
taking with the other
The Government has just pre-
sented the largest budget ever at
$65 billion and yet there is a severe
shortage of drugs at the public hos-
pitals and health centres.
This PP administration can
budget to spend this huge sum but
cannot fund or arrange for the dis-
tribution of vital drugs to the poor
and vulnerable in the population.
This group includes old-age pen-
sioners, recipients of social assis-
tance and disability grants, indigent
mothers, low-income families with
ailing members, and others.
They all are forced to purchase
much-needed drugs at the private
pharmacies at great cost.
This is therefore an even-handed
government---it gives with one
hand and takes away with another.
Welcome to the welfare state.
Balan Persad Singh,
Over the last few months there
has been very loud music and all-
night parties weekly at Sforzata
panyard, St Augustine. At these
parties the bass is extremely loud
and disturbing. They end at 5 am.
The seniors, animals, students
are all suffering. The doors are rat-
tling, not to mention our nerves. Is
there anyone in charge of this
venue? Can we have our peace
again, please. There are young peo-
ple at home studying!
On September 26 there is an-
other all-nighter planned called
Tiger World. Can someone please
ensure these fetes have all the nec-
essary legislative requirements.
They are trying to kill us, it seems.
It's Your Write
From time to time my readers
send me notes about what I
should tackle in my column.
Once it s not too outrageous, I
usually comply with the request
if I can.
A couple of weeks ago one
reader asked me to highlight the
way the elderly are treated when
they go to government offices.
I have to say that in my expe-
rience, most offices, government
or private, are not especially
unfriendly to the elderly. That is
to say, people don t go out of
their way to be mean to the eld-
erly; the elderly simply get the
same bad treatment as the rest
of the population.
For example, once many years
ago I took my mother to the
bank. She was at that point suf-
fering from dementia and unable
to speak or write, but the super-
visor insisted that the bank could
not cash her pension cheque
without her signature.
I was in tears when I went
back to the Social Welfare office
to tell the caseworker what had
Thank God another bank was
less inflexible and I was eventu-
ally able to cash the cheque
without trouble elsewhere. But
the fact that a banker would look
at a woman who was clearly
incapacitated and ask her to sign
before accommodating her needs
left me appalled.
Anyway, the following is what
my reader asked me to highlight.
"My clients, especially the eld-
erly, complain bitterly about the
way they are treated by the min-
istries and institutions in the
"Seems that the staff at the
ministries bark at the public.
"The ministry will initially give
a list of requirements for the
specific purpose. When the per-
son returns and documents are
being processed, if a mistake is
observed on one or there is the
realisation that a document is
missing, the client or member of
the public is despatched to get
the documents in order.
"When the client returns with
what he thinks are the correct
documents, if the public servant
notices that something else is
wrong or missing the person is
"They do not process every-
thing and then give the public a
list of what is wrong or missing.
"Sometimes in the middle of
processing a member of the pub-
lic the public servant will say it
is time for her lunch break and
leave the customer.
"The elderly are treated with
total disrespect everywhere.
"I am suggesting that people
use these new cell phones to
video tape and record the time
they enter a place and the whole
experience in these institutions.
"I am also suggesting that the
retired senior staff of the Min-
istry of Foreign Affairs, Protocol
Division, and BWIA flight atten-
dants be used to train these peo-
I agree with my reader in say-
ing T&T s customer service, par-
ticularly in government offices,
could be improved with training.
However, I also acknowledge that
it s not just civil servants with
poor customer-service practices.
How many times have I gone
into a store and had to wait for
the clerk to finish sending her
WhatsApp message before she
attended to me?
We have a national problem
with customer service. Perhaps
these ex-diplomats and flight
attendants could be dispatched
all over the country to attend to
the shortcomings of clerks and
CSRs everywhere. While that
may be less than feasible, it s not
too hard to ask people to be
empathetic to the needs of their
When an elderly client comes
in with obvious mobility chal-
lenges, is there not a way for the
client s needs to be met without
asking them to traverse the
length and breadth of the city to
collect certificates, affidavits and
so on? Not everyone has relatives
or carers willing or able to take
up the slack. I wonder what hap-
pens to the folks who have
nobody to do such running
around for them?
In this age of Instagram and
Twitter examples of poor cus-
tomer service can go around the
world twice before good customer
service even puts his boots on (to
paraphrase Mark Twain).
But would it make a difference?
It seems to me that you can only
shame those who have shame;
and judging from the behaviour
my reader describes, some CSRs
have no shame at all.
However, some action is better
than none, so by all means go
ahead and tape the interactions.
It could be useful to have hard
proof, not just anecdotal evi-
dence, of the contempt with
which so many of us are treated
in government offices.
NO SHAME AT ALL
LISA ALLEN AGOSTINI
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