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Respecting people’s time

Published: Sep 01, 2017

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Dear Editor,

I hope this letter is interpreted in the light it is meant to be – as impetus to move our country toward providing better service for our citizens.

This week I stood in line with others, as we waited at the National Insurance Board (NIB) at Big Pond to pay our NIB fees. Many of us were there during work hours, either taking time from an employer, wasting productivity hours or utilizing our one-hour lunch time. I was in line for 45 minutes.

Big Pond has three wickets at which you can pay. Two of these wickets had people sitting behind the glass, but only one wicket was open to accept payments. I frequently visit NIB at Big Pond, and I’ve yet to see all three wickets utilized.

Earlier this week I also spent over an hour in a bank. It was the same situation. There was a line to the door and minimal wickets were being manned.

The doctor’s office can be just as bad. I understand completely when a doctor has an emergency and appointments get backed up. However, patients can be advised and given the option to wait or postpone the appointment. Instead, we sit in an office for a 9 a.m. appointment and the doctor comes waltzing in at 11:30. I have been to doctors that do respect your time, so I know it can be done.

Police stop cars in the middle of the road, causing a backup of traffic. Jitneys do the same. Regular drivers don’t see any problem stopping in the middle of traffic to hail someone. Pull on the side of the road and let traffic flow, please!

The University of The Bahamas has a beautiful campus. However, in the design, they should have considered how students would cross Thompson Boulevard. The crosswalk, as it is now, causes northbound traffic to back up past the Clarence Bain building. On the other side, it backs up along Nassau Street to Base Road.

Time is important and dear to everyone. If we want to improve productivity in this country, we should begin by respecting everyone’s time.

Waiting has become too commonplace, and we, as Bahamians, have accepted it for far too long without realizing the impact it has had on our little country. We wait at the bank. We wait at doctors’ offices. We wait at government offices. We wait. We grumble amongst ourselves, but still, we wait.

When we get back to work, our supervisors want to know why we’ve been gone so long. They do not understand when an employee’s lunch hour runs into company time. Rightfully so, this is considered stealing time from the employer, and time used for personal business decreases productivity at work.

And so many people use weekends to conduct their business – at the bank, getting medical care, paying bills. Many offices, including banks, are now open on weekends for this same reason. Will government offices have to start doing the same?

This causes a catch 22 situation. Either workers become stressed, trying to fit what should be an hour-long appointment into an hour-long lunch hour – and failing miserably – or they use their “restful” weekend time to fulfill tasks. Either way, when stress is created, productivity reduces.

The decision makers in these offices think they are saving money by manning their wickets with a minimal number of staff, but are they really?

We should all strive to be like one local ferry company – when they say they shove off at 7:30, they shove off at 7:30. You be there, or you be left.

– Greg Lampkin

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Last Updated on Saturday, 02 September 2017 13:42


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