Sunday Brew — May 26, 2019

Sunday, May 26, 2019

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How a stupid bus driver forced an Indian doctor to weep

Dr Ashok Jasti Kumar is a medical doctor based at the Annotto Bay Hospital in St Mary. Over the 14 years that he has been at the hospital, he has saved many lives and has built up a reputation as an able practitioner who puts professionalism at the forefront of his approach to life.

Dr Kumar, a Hindu who came to Jamaica from the Hyderabad area of India, received a life-changing phone call last Monday. He rushed to the accident and emergency department at his workplace to try and save someone close to him: His son. Alas, it was too late. The eighth grader at Titchfield High School in Portland had succumbed to his injuries after another road jackass, immaculately called bus driver, lost control of the vehicle that he was doing his fashionable thing with, which ended up in a ravine.

Pranjal Jasti Kumar was no more. Several others were injured.

Police said that 23 people were in the minibus, built to seat 15. It happened along the Black Hill main road in Portland, a treacherous thoroughfare which didn't mean a thing to the driver. His sole objective, as is the objective of 99.275 per cent of the people who drive privately-operated public passenger vehicles, is to reach the respective destinations as fast as possible and rush back to base so that more money can be made.

The ghastly feeling is compounded by suggestions from the police that they had the driver 'under surveillance' for a long time, yet they failed to do what should have been done. We hear that the same driver was charged two weeks ago for packing 31 passengers tighter than sardines in the same bus that officially carries 15. Why then was he not locked up and allowed to spend a forced pre-summer vacation in jail?

How many more lives will it take to determine that we are in a real war zone with PPV operators and drivers? We are downright afraid to throw taximen and minibus drivers in jail when they endanger our lives, but the same authorities are among the first to pledge funeral support when that could have been avoided in the first place.

Pranjal Jasti Kumar was bright. His parents were from India, but he was born in Jamaica. This is the country that produced this talented son and the same country that took him. Pranjal would likely have gone on to become a doctor and save more lives than his father has. But a lethal road hooligan has forced us to awake from that dream. Now, the body that could have contained the key to unlocking so many medical puzzles is on its way to India for burial. How sad!

A look at that abortion issue

The subject of abortion is always a tricky one, depending on who you speak with or where in the world you go.

In Jamaica, the issue is one that will remain on the agenda for some time to come, as pro-abortion lobbyists, inspired by parliamentarian Juliet Cuthbert Flynn, and those against, which include a vast number of church officials, insist that their points are the right ones.

My upfront declaration is that I am anti-abortion. I view it as a heinous act which, if the potential mother has anything called emotion in her system, will return to haunt her in later years. Of course, there are some women who don't give a damn, and will do multiple abortions as if they are in some kind of points-building programme.

One of the problems with abortion is that we all don't know whose life is being terminated. It could be a first-rate engineer, an accountant, teacher, large scale farmer, medical practitioner, or even a politician (I hear the shouts in the distance to abort the last one). It is also true that such a termination could mean one less criminal, but then criminals were not born — the 'system' made them.

Although I am anti-abortion, I would have no issue with a woman being allowed to terminate a pregnancy along the following lines: clear danger to the mother, rape, and incest.

It's a no-brainer that the life of the mother must be spared or secured if complications could put her at risk. Rape is my most hated crime and I don't believe that a woman should be forced to carry the child of someone who forced her to conceive against her will. Of course, we all know the dangers of incest, so it's not worth spending too much time on.

But as a society, we should not merely legalise abortion as some want, thereby encouraging men and women to engage in dangerous sex acts, knowing that if there is conception, the woman could easily walk into a clinic and have a 'disconnection'. Not right at all. Lives must be more precious than that.

Asif Ahmad: A diplomat who was made for Jamaica

I'm always fascinated by the conduct of members of the diplomatic community and how they react to the everyday wishes of a country like Jamaica, which has much to gain from many of the nations with which they have sober relations.

The traditional countries like the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom have maintained friendly relations with Jamaica; while latterly, Cuba, China, Venezuela (yes, that country still exists), Mexico, South Korea, Japan, South Africa, Nigeria, Caribbean states, and others have become the kind of friendly allies that a country needs to continue its phases of development.

In all of this there are some diplomats who come to Jamaica and add their personal touch, going the extra mile in achieving the aims and objectives of their administrations in an easier way. One such man is the current High Commissioner of the United Kingdom to Jamaica Asif Ahmad.

High Commissioner Ahmad's matter-of-fact utterances have been sincere, although in some cases, as diplomats are, you are forced to read between the lines.

Since his arrival here two years now, he, the first man of colour that I can recall to be posted in Jamaica from the UK, has immersed himself into the Jamaican culture and way of life that his predecessors neglected to do.

He, for example, goes to Coronation Market to get fresh fruits and vegetables, and takes a step further in describing our own Otaheite apple as the best in the world. That's quite a thing for such a man.

High Commissioner Ahmad speaks openly on issues and is generally good to have in the visiting corner. He is definitely a plus for Jamaica and its cause.

By the way, I'm not seeking a UK visitor's visa.

What's going on at Tastee Patties?

A dilution of service at some outlets of Tastee Patties forced me to ask relevant questions and seek answers about why, to me, has there been a decline in customer service standards at the famed company in recent months.

At the company's headquarters, along Half-Way-Tree Road in St Andrew, there is some amount of inconvenience, as the point-of-sale machines are unreliable, one in particular — the Epay system — has been down for over two months. And it has been that way at all the outlets that offer the service. Why can't a company with the profile of Tastee not solve such a challenge?

Upon further probing the matter, I understand that there are issues with Tastee and the people who run Epay. Is the issue something that cannot be resolved? I'm sure it can be.

Tastee, like National Bakery, J Wray & Nephew, and Red Stripe are companies that 'raised' Jamaicans near and far. If you find that customers are citing challenges, then it is up to you to examine your operations and see how best you can get the standards back to what the lovers of your goods will appreciate.

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