Thu | Dec 14, 2017

Our bomb rush culture

Published:Monday | May 25, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Applicants rush the passport office on Constant Spring Road after an increase in passport application fees was announced recently.

I'm pretty certain the correct term is actually 'bum rush' but using Jamaicans and anything to do with bums in the same sentence might not be a good idea.

But whatever the term, Jamaicans, probably more than any other nationality, looove to do things in a rush. It's like mentally, if we ain't rushing, we're comatose. Just look at how people drive on a normal day. If someone slows down to turn on to a side road, the individual directly behind them swings into the other lane because they can't wait two seconds for the person to finish turning. It has been known to cause accidents. We just have to rush.

But also, Jamaicans and their last-minute culture thing also accommodates this rush mentality (or maybe that's what caused it to begin with?). Last week, the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency announced they were raising fees originally starting May 26, but the deadline was extended to June 1. Many people said dem wicked and it nuh fair, blah blah blah. The point of this diatribe is that the very next day after the announcement on Sunday, May 17, the same agency reported that they were receiving more than the usual number of applications. Why? Because everybody wants to get their papers sorted out before the deadline.

So the question I always ask is, whe unnu did deh di whole time? Unnu neva know seh di passport did waan replace, renew or whatever? Yuh neva know yuh pickney (dem) passport did need sorting out?

The same thing happened in December 2012, when the Traffic Ticket Amnesty was winding down. The amnesty was six months long and gave Jamaicans the chance to clear up any outstanding traffic tickets they had from before September 21, 2010. Somehow, many of our fellow residents of Jamrock decided to wait until December 29, 30 and 31 before looking about their business. It was, in one word - chaotic!

 

we're not learning

 

And we simply aren't learning. If you tell Jamaicans that a hurricane is definitely coming in two weeks time, I guarantee you MegaMart, PriceSmart and all the wholesales will not see any business until di breeze start blow heavy! When the rain starts coming down, that's when everybody starts to elbow each other out of the way to get the last bread, bully beef and sardine. They may even get into fights over brands they don't normally eat. But when frighten tek yuh, pickney shut fit yuh!

Like I said earlier, I'm not here to debate whether the fee increase is just or unjust. Quite frankly, if you haven't realised by now that every Government-related service that they charge for is probably going to be increased at some point, then you need to take your head out of the sand. And because Jamaicans don't like to pay from the beginning, even if the increase was $100, somebody would have complained. That's just how we are. Just like it is with the rushing thing.

Aah bwoy, maybe, one day, we'll become more proactive. But I'm not rushing to bet on that happening soon. Later.

• Rush to me at daviot.kelly@gleanerjm.com