Moving Back to Jamaica

A blog about my Move Back to Jamaica after 20+ years of living in the US. Most of the articles focus on the period from 2005-2009 when the transition was new, and at it's most challenging.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Bureaucracy, Jamaican Style

I think you know what I’m talking about – long lines, long waits, surly staff, heat and humidity, dust, deadly boredom, no parking, etc., etc.

Well, the truth is, with the exception of a single experience, I have not had very bad experiences in my Move Back to Jamaica…. and I was expecting the worst.

In fact, I think that doing business in Jamaica has become much more easy, and interestingly, that doing business in the USA has become much more difficult. (for reasons related to 9/11.)

Cases in point:

I was able to get JPS (the power company) to turn on our power in 1-2 days.
The cable company turned on cable service in less than 24 hours.
My wife was able to get Digicel cell-phone service in about 30 minutes.
My dealings with Customs and Immigration, including an episode in which my wife had her passport taken in Customs but not returned, were by and large straightforward (other than the fact that it was taken.)

The one glaring and obvious exception has been Cable and Wireless (C&W), the monopoly fixed-line provider.

After going into the office to get service turned on, I was assured that it would be taken care of in 5-10 business days. I gasped, as it meant that I would have to move in without a fixed phone line. They also informed me that I could not apply for DSL service until I had gotten a phone line… which made no sense to me whatsoever, but seemed like that would be a battle for another day. I was given a card with a reference number, with no date mentioned in writing of a day for connection. I told them that the apartment I was moving into has had phone service available there for years.

Nearly 30 days later, nothing has happened. I have gotten no information, or even a call from C&W. I have a friend who works for the company that I have asked to intervene on my behalf, but nothing has happened there either. I called twice and was given the distinct impression by the three people I spoke with, including one supervisor, that they could not care less whether or not I became a customer of the company. They advised me that my order had not yet reached “Installation” and that basically, was that.

In the meantime, I am contemplating forgoing a fixed line altogether, as I had someone in my apartment complex connect me to the WAN in the complex, which is available for free at the moment.

The only reason that I am even contemplating getting fixed line service, and DSL is that I plan to use VOIP, and the quality is much better over a DSL line (although that remains to be tested.)
C&W remains the one blot thus far in my attempt to get the essential services installed and in place in short order. So far, my experience has been one that makes me shrink from doing further business with them, and although I may have to, I am actively searching for alternatives. The buzz on the street is that there are alternate providers of DSL and wireless services coming on stream, and that I can use VOIP through other means. I look forward to it, which I know is not something that the executives of C&W are planning for in their strategic planning retreats for 2006.


At 9/29/2005 1:25 PM, Blogger wayne&wax said...

enjoying your blog. as someone who moved to jamaica for an extended stay a couple years ago, i can relate to many of your frustrations, though i'm glad to hear you've been pleasantly surprised by how easily you've been able to navigate some of the big bureaucracies. not being a jamaican myself, i can't claim to share the same emotional resonance at all, though, so it's great to get your perspective on returning home. welcome back, mr.francis, indeed.

my wife and i went with the C&W DSL back in '03, which was ridiculously expensive (but crucial for us). even back then there was talk of others coming on stream. hope you find some alternatives.

if you care to empathize a bit (or just laugh at our expense), i offer you our own tale of bureaucratic hell:

best of luck getting settled back a yard. keep the posts coming!


At 9/29/2005 8:51 PM, Blogger Yamfoot said...

Write to Rodney Davis, the new CEO. He 'just come' and says he wants to improve service.

BTW, Princess P of the Shaking variety recently back from 'Bimshire' having the same problem, so is not you alone.

"We're all in this thing together, we gotta work it out" la la la la la

(me don't use the blogspot one)

And you're probably wondering who the heck is this? You'll find out in time.

I don't remember seeing you at WW's funeral. But then again, I didn't see everybody that was there.

Ciao and good luck in this new path.


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