Columns

Cold weather in the city

Barbara Gloudon

Friday, May 11, 2018

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Time -wise it was afternoon when the rain began to pour down from the sky which was clothed in an angry, grey-looking cloak, the colour of cold steel. On the roads of Kingston, schoolchildren began to move as fast as they could to get out of the rain which came down in a steady beat. Laden with their heavy backpacks the students sought out whatever available shelter until the bus arrived at the stop. Then they pushed forward trying to find a dry place on-board.

At the taxi stands the adults were moving too; scrambling to get a seat in the arriving cars as the sky continued spewing out the cold-looking water. Actually, it was more than “cold-looking”, it was “cold so till”. To get trapped in it was an act of suffering. There was no warmth from the sky.

The bus driver eased away from the stand and made his way into the traffic. Every passenger was damp and miserable. Who wouldn't be? This was the wettest, coldest afternoon felt in a long while. Drivers of new-style vehicles were picking up speed, trying to reach their destination as quickly as possible. As the cars moved faster, water splashed up from the roadway soaking those making their way on foot. One or two opened umbrellas seeking cover from above while hopping and skipping around large pools of water in their way.

Careless and inconsiderate motorists sped through the icy-cold water as their tyres cut through the wetness. Those with older vehicles puttered along slowly — the drivers praying the automobile would not stall as roadways became more like rivers.

Overhead, the sky made a miserable picture as the cold water continued to pour down.

Question: Where did all this cold-water weather come from?

At the start of the weekend the Meteorological Service had reported a “deep trough” in our neighbourhood. A forecast of “light to moderate showers that could turn into thunderstorms”.

In my neck of the woods, it was neither light nor moderate. By Sunday, the Met Service had issued a “flash-flood watch”. Many communities in the hills of St Andrew were affected by landslides. The rest of the island also took a battering. From St Thomas in the east to Hanover in the west came reports of blocked roads.

I have no desire to stir up trouble, but why is it that, in a place called “the land of wood and water”, we are not really equipped to deal with an overflow of water? The slightest downpour and our roads become impassable. The water pipes are rendered bone-dry as words like “disruptions” and “turbidity” are splashed around. Seriously, there must be some appropriate changes made to our infrastructure to avoid some of the problems caused when “cold-water discomfort” comes to town.

Hurricane season starts in June. What then can the relevant authorities, and the rest of us, do to help ourselves?

Facing the difficulty

Three people lost their lives in an aeroplane crash which happened at the end of last week. Whenever such incidents happen it hurts even to think of it. We wait to hear the results of the investigation to determine the cause of the event.

To the grieving friends and members of the families left behind the prayers of the people are with you.

The people of Georgia in Trelawny, who helped to locate the wreck in the difficult terrain — and assisted in an immeasurable way to bring closure to a sad situation — you represent the spirit of generosity which our people have been noted to show. Our gratitude should be made known to them.

May is labour month

Question: Tell mi nuh, will there be a return to the days when the “workers' movement” had power, not only in Jamaica, but in the wider Caribbean countries which were so committed to protecting their workers?

Does our Jamaica of today even know what used to be? How many of the heroes of the labour movement are still around and ready to put new life into an old scene?

Yes, jobs are hard to come by, and nobody wants to rock the boat, but we must protect and ensure our people get their due.

Labour unions do more than just call strikes. They advocate and protect workers' rights. There must be a balance to make sure employer and employee work together for the betterment of their organisation and our country.

Who will remember the late Alexander Bustamante, Michael Manley, Hugh Lawson Shearer, Hopeton Caven, and whole-heap more? They were among the ones who stood up for their fellow Jamaicans. If we are really serious about what the labour movement achieved in the past and what it means for the present, then let's get going.

There is nuff and plenty to bring out from the archives and seek to assist today's generation to know. My dear friend, the late Professor Rex Nettleford, would say: “You have to use your rear-view mirror when you drive.” Knowing our past will pave the way for a bright future.

Barbara Gloudon is a journalist, playwright and commentator. Send comments to the Observer or gloudonb@yahoo.com.

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