I must have changed about a dozen cell phones. I have never bought a mobile phone from another place except directly from GT&T. Each one of my phones cost between $3000 and $5000. I have absolutely no interest in a smart phone; I refused one as recent as May this year when the Prime Minister’s security strategist, Raymond Hall offered one. I have always bought a Motorola. I never had a cell other than a Motorola.
Then in June I found myself in an unfortunate situation. I was in the picket line on a rainy day outside Freedom House denouncing the appointment of Bharrat Jagdeo when my phone fell into the water and died. African-rights activist, Elton McCrae agreed to accompany me to GT&T to but yet another Motorola. They didn’t have. For the first time I had to buy a mobile phone from another place other than GT&T. But Elton stopped me. He looked at a model named “Plum” in the showcase and suggested I get one. First thing I did was to enquire of the maker. It was a Chinese brand. I was reluctant because my heart-felt opinion is that Chinese goods are inferior. Elton said his Plum has been serving him for years now. I bought a Plum.
Yesterday morning, I finished jogging, went to the supermarket, pulled out my Plum to call my wife but it stopped working; just like that. Maybe it was a supernatural thing. I live right next to Giftland Mall which has a GT&T store. My daughter suggested that it was too early to go to Giftland. She said they only open at 11.00 hours. But I figure that maybe the private stores would open up earlier. None of the advertisements in the newspapers had a number for Giftland. Giftland’s Facebook page doesn’t have one either. So it was time to dial 092 for GT&T’s operator.
I have had terrible moments of tempestuous chagrin in the past trying to get through to 092. I have heard about this non-functioning aspect of GT&T’s operations for over two decades now. I would think most Guyanese know about this 092 fiasco. I didn’t succeed yesterday.
This is one of the mysteries of Guyana. Why it is impossible to get through to 092? What is bitterly exasperating is that GT&T’s reaction to my complaint will be so insulting. I can anticipate the explanation – the lines are always busy so one has to keep trying. I cannot accept that because it does not synchronize with my experiences. I would say two out of a hundred times, I have been successful.
With our small population, how can this number be so busy that a caller cannot get through? I honestly believe there is a reason other than the traditional one GT&T gives us.
GT&T’s 092 is the identical twin of the police 911. This is another mystery that will not be solved even though in a few months’ time Guyana will be celebrating 50 years of Independence. One wonders how many robberies could have been prevented, how many lives could have been saved if 911 worked.
The police hierarchy has a plaster for every sore even when they are lying through their teeth but the 911 insanity is something that the Guyana Police Force simply cannot explain to the nation. Why in the 21st century when the telephone system, the operation of which is as simple as when we use a stove to cook on or the car we drive, a citizen cannot get through to 911?
So is it the fault GT&T or the police or both? Or could the fault be Guyana’s? Does anything work in this country? I believe the breakdown is structural and psychological. Take the Guyana branch of the Bank of Nova Scotia. I had a gigantic argument with the bank over a returned NIS voucher. The bank sent me the returned voucher with the explanation that they do not accept deposits of NIS vouchers. I had used the ATM to deposit it. But the bank replied seven six months after the NIS cheque had expired. One simply could not get through to the bank by telephone.
One year after this, I saw a letter in the newspaper complaining about telephone facilities of the bank. The situation remains unchanged.
I am absolutely certain this doesn’t happen in Canada. All the Nova Scotia branches probably have umpteen lines that serve customers. Once a foreign company comes here, it becomes part of the psychological breakdown of Guyana. All of this is happening as we move closer to celebrating 50 years as a sovereign nation.
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