One of the tragic mistakes the PPP made, was its refusal to read the Riot Act to state institutions, state employers and state employees who contemptuously and condescendingly mistreated, misused and humiliated the hapless, helpless people of this land.
I had a terrible experience with GPL on Tuesday morning that left my wife and daughter traumatized. But let’s digress briefly with reference to the former PPP regime. I doubt Sam Hinds, with the portfolio for GPL, ever called an emergency meeting of GPL staff – despite millions of complaints – to warn them that they cannot mistreat customers.
I believe the PPP Government never castigated the GPL staff for unprofessional behaviour, thus, GPL’s attitude never changed under the PPP. The PPP never bothered, because it couldn’t lose general elections. There is a creeping suspicion that the leadership of APNU+AFC thinks that the PPP days are over, and that the coalition will now be the people to win elections permanently. So GPL, GWI, the police etc., will never see the anger of President Granger and Prime Minister Nagamootoo
On Tuesday morning, I came back from walking my dog in the National Park, only to find the GPL disconnection crew at my gate. My wife would not have coped well if she had to do the explanation without me. Had I arrived minutes later, my electricity supply would have been suspended. I explained that I didn’t receive a December bill, and I know the due date for payment is always the first day of the month, and GPL disconnects seven days after the due date.
It meant therefore that if you add seven days to December 1, it will bring you up to December 8. But how could they cut on December 8 when you have until midnight on December 8 to pay?
It means that preparation of the documentation to disconnect will take place on December 9, and the crew will visit you on December 9. But they came the morning of December 8 to cut. Fortunately I paid Paysure before the seven days deadline. This means that had they waited until December 9, they would have seen the Paysure transmission, but they prepared their documentation before the seven days were up.
The crew was reasonable, polite and nice. They agreed that the disconnection documentation was drawn up while I still had time to pay. This happened to a customer that was never in arrears and, who for decades, always paid his GPL bills on time. This hurt my wife and she took it badly.
It was now time to complain to GPL. You cannot get through to GPL. After two hours of trying, my wife’s frustration began to affect her. She told me to put down the phone. The General Manager for customers’ service is impossible to access. His direct line is 226-8325. After two hours I got through to the disconnection department, but the gentleman told me he cannot give me the name of the supervisor.
I threatened to expose him in the media. He then told me it was Ms. Khemraj. Getting Ms. Khemraj is impossible. She wasn’t there. Half an hour after I got her, she put me on hold, and my cell phone credit was going to waste. My wife told me to hang up. I did.
Through a friend I got the extension of the manager for customers’ service. His name is Lanceford Cummings. His extension is 1514. Mr. Cummings has the quietest tone of voice for any human being I have spoken with, but Lanceford Cummings is mean-spirited. I told him I didn’t get a bill. He replied that absence of a bill should not prevent you from carrying out your obligation to pay GPL.
I explained that they came to cut before the seven days grace period was up. He said the seven days period is not a legal requirement for GPL to follow. I asked how GPL could send bills through an unreliable Post Office Corporation. He added that any change in that method is for the policy-makers. That was it. That was Lanceford Cummings.
This is GPL for you. This is Guyana for you. I watched the maudlin expression on the face of my daughter and wife. I knew I made the tragic mistake of returning to Guyana after studies abroad. My wife turned her back on top jobs in Canada to follow me to this outdoor latrine pit of a country.
She topped her class at university and won the Chemical Institute of Canada Award. Her university had secured employment with top Canadian corporations, but she followed an idealistic fool and philosophical pessimist like me back to Guyana. She and I will regret that tragedy for the rest of our lives.
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