Thu | Jul 7, 2022

Unconscionable NWC workers

Published:Thursday | May 12, 2022 | 12:08 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

The illegal, unconscionable, and politically motivated strike at the National Water Commission (NWC) has brought to the fore one of the most intractable problem besetting the country – striking of essential workers willy-nilly for just about anything.

In 2022, it is beyond unconscionable that one group of workers can hold the country hostage because they believe they shouldn’t go to work. It should not be happening at all.

It is in this vein that I propose the Government use the HOPE Programme to create a secondary line of defence to keep this country going, in the event of strike action taken like we have now. Get youngster to be trained into operating the systems at NWC at least 700-1,000 of them. They would be called up to keep the entity going in the event of such disruption. It is very important that we have a secondary system that we can rely on.

It’s not only strikes that we have to think about. We are in an era where things are becoming much more unstable. We need something similar to the National Guard in the US, to take charge of critical infrastructure across the country in the event those in charge are incapable, for whatever reason, to carry out their assigned functions. We cannot continue to be held at ransom by these people, who are insensitive and cruel, and we shake it off as a nine day wonder. Enough is enough.

Jamaica has many problems, among them heartlessness and selfishness. It’s always about what the individual or group wants; never about what is in the best interest of the country. This level of selfishness permeates all levels of society, and continues to cause irreparable harm to this nation. In the public sector it is continually played out, with serious consequences. It needs to stop.

The schools and hotels, especially hotels, which bring in the money that is needed to pay for any back pay, or raise in pay for these same people, are now been severely affected. Did they think about that? No, of course they didn’t. That’s what happens when selfishness and stupidity combine. It creates a situation of utter chaos.

The staff on strike at the NWC are among the laziest set of persons within the public sector. We have all seen the many broken pipes wasting water for weeks on end, without been fixed. You start to wonder if we are paying them to be even lazier.

The time has come for the Government to institute a second line of defence to keep critical installations going in times of crisis. Use the HOPE Programme, paired with the engineers from the army, to be that second line of defence. If we had that, the country would not be in the state it is in now. The minute the staff walk off the job, the army engineers and the HOPE graduates would have moved in and restarted the entire system, and we would have had water flowing in our pipes right now.

FABIAN LEWIS