THE EDITOR, Sir:
I am seeking assistance in obtaining clarification in regard to a 'requirement' related to sending funds from Kingston to a rural parish. The information I need has to do with the demand to disclose the source of the funds being remitted. What is the source of this requirement?
Once per month, it is necessary for me to send small sums (between $6,000 and $10,000) through Western Union. The first time I was asked to state 'source of funds', I said something like 'private resources'. That answer was not acceptable to the clerk who suggested that I say 'salary' or 'bank account'.
'Salary' as a response requires the disclosure of place of employment. The name of a place is given, the money is sent, and I receive my receipt. Even if I was unemployed, or employed to another establishment, no check is done before the money is sent. Even if the clerk were to send my photograph to a company to ascertain whether I was employed there, the money would already have been sent.
Another acceptable response to the 'source of funds' question is 'bank account'. Now how come I did not hear that banks give money to people? My experience is rather the opposite (but that's another story). If I have a bank account, money would have to come from somewhere to start and maintain it; however, I am never asked for that source or sources.
The last time I went to a Western Union facility and was asked 'source of funds', I replied 'theft'. The clerk said, "No, Ms Mair, you wouldn't do that." What makes her so sure that I wouldn't? Maybe I should try 'gift' as an answer next time, but then I would have to state the giver!
Problems of corruption
It is worth noting that given the tight space of the remittance facilities any conversation between the customer and the clerk, however softly spoken, is heard by everyone in the room.
While I am aware of the problems of corruption, scamming, and other forms of criminality plaguing the Jamaican society, I still cannot accept that a law-abiding citizen must be harassed for sending a small amount of money from one area of the island to another.
I find the 'source of funds' question very annoying because it is pointless. However, I am open to correction, so any clarification you can provide will be gratefully received.