Gareth Davis Sr, Gleaner Writer
Dozens of persons are forced to stand in long lines during most weekdays at commercial banks, the Inland Revenue Department, the hospital, and post office in Port Antonio, to access varied services offered by those entities.
Those sweating it out in long lines comprise public-sector workers, cashiers, vendors, contract workers, and tradesmen, who end up late for work, thus earning them the wrath of their employers.
"It's very depressing. We're all here for similar purposes and are from different places. We're all here to either make a deposit, make a withdrawal, open an account or to access a loan," said Marie Thompson, a resident, who claimed that she spent more than 45 minutes at a bank in Port Antonio, while awaiting her turn in line.
The utterances were quite identical, with many persons complaining that they would not only be late for work, but that they would have lost valuable time, and that would prevent them from completing their day's schedule.
With the patience of residents in and around Port Antonio stretched as long as the lines they are forced to form daily to access needed service, courtesy retreats. There are verbal conflicts with employees at the various entities, who are chided for their alleged lack of urgency.
But for tradesmen and contract workers, their situation is far more compounded as production time lost is not easily recovered, which in most instances results in them having to put in additional hours so as to complete their work on time or ahead of schedule.
"When we agree to complete work at a particular time, we are expected to," commented Dennis Marsh, a painter by profession. "To collect a deposit and not being able to complete the work at the agreed time is somewhat unprofessional. I have six persons working with me, and I am both boss and supervisor. When I turn up late as a result of having to make statutory payments or to do business at the bank, any delay affects the work schedule and its progress."
And although unable to speak definitively to the reasons for the delays and forming of long lines, supervisors and managers at the varied entities are laying the blame squarely on Internet trouble and on malfunctioning computers and other devices, which they say result in a bottleneck.
Investigations by The Gleaner also reveal that some employees, especially those working at supermarkets, variety stores, and as domestic helpers, often suffered at the hands of their employers, who quickly deduct money from their woefully low wages as a result of disciplinary actions for being late.