Published On: Tue, Jan 9th, 2018

Communications Chaos at the Census Office

Dear Editor,

“Please hold the line while we try to connect you, the person you are calling, knows you are waiting”, except that in this case, the person probably doesn’t care or is it that the calls are not being picked up because only one person or one phone is responsible for handling the many issues associated  with the census office? Isn’t this the latest song in town especially when you try to reach the Census Office and you have done that several times?

I recently went by the government building to complain about my inability to reach the telephone number given by the census office but I gave up after staying on the queue for so long, only to found out that practically everybody on the queue was out for the same complain “not being able to reach the number given by the census office”. Every meeting with the census office requires appointment but to book the appointment is almost an impossible task. My advice, if your passport would expire December next year, start calling the Census Office immediately, you may not get through until May 2018. If you are lucky that your appointment is booked, it could be for January, 2019. Although this is an exaggeration but the situation with the census office requires urgent attention.

During my recent visit to the Government Building, while waiting on the queue, at one point, a lady on the queue had to call the Census office number for the employee that attended to us to see that it was “mission impossible”. The employee rather embarrassed but had nothing else to say than to tell her to keep trying until she gets through because there is no other way out. I watched that lady walk out of the government building frustrated and devastated. She looked like she was about to cry.

What is really going on? Why are we hurting each other? So many documents and processes on hold not because of Irma but because, for some reason, some very smart person thinks that one telephone is sufficient to handle the entire country. What are we doing? Are we no longer the friendly island?  Is the plan to frustrate people to leave? Who can help us?

I ask these questions because I cannot fathom the reason behind the treatment of the inhabitants of this beautiful Island. It is easier to acquire a Netherlands visa than to contact the census office in order to renew your passport or identity card.

The most annoying part is the constant reminder by the Census Office that you are only attended to when you are on appointment. This has nothing to do with Irma but I am sure she will take the blame if nobody does.

I want to appeal to the government and Heads of Department to please look into these issues and look for constructive ways to handle them. We are not in barbaric society; this is the 21st century on a friendly Island.

Shola Blessing