What a contrast with Jamaica

Dear Editor,


I am going to a wedding at the Riu in Jamaica.  The staff of Fly Jamaica at our airport are a very pleasant bunch even at 1am and the flight itself was perfect with smiling hostesses who couldn’t understand a word spoken by some of our rural folks.

The journey from Kingston to Ocho Rios is about two-and-a-half hours on winding roads through the mountains.  I had to ask the driver about accidents.  He can’t remember when last there was a major one, because every time you go to renew your driver’s licence there is some kind of test administered.  So how come on flat, straight roads in Guyana there are so many smash-ups?

At 6am there was an army of workers out there weeding, planting, watering, cleaning and beautifying Kingston.  I was struck dumb when I saw workers all the way up on the mountains raking and weeding.  And they are still there working at 2.30pm on my way back to the airport a few days later.  Wow!

The big buses that we chased away are giving great service to Jamaicans.  A double decker terminal, air conditioned buses, special ones for the school population, no lawlessness and cursing at the terminal. As a matter of fact I heard no cursing, period. The only cursing came from some drunk tourists who were quickly whisked away. This is a family resort.

At the resort tourists arrived in waves from Canada, USA, UK, Europe.  As five coaches are leaving six are arriving. A hive of activity.  Another army of workers, and not a single sour face.

On the beach, five to six hundred tourists, buffet style lunch using paper plates and plastic glasses. And now for the amazing part: not a napkin flying about at the end of the day.   Everyone picks up their stuff and puts it in the garbage when they are finished.  I expected to see the same discipline at the airport, but no, you can tell, some folks leave their stuff on the table while others put it away in the garbage.

Every day, there were at least six weddings catered for separately.  Yet the waiters, ground staff, chefs and support staff never seemed to be flustered. I watched in awe knowing in my heart that it will be a long time before Guyanese can pull this off.

Kudos to Fly Jamaica on my return flight.  Then we landed in Guyana.  And the contrast immediately hits you. Why does it take so long to go through immigration?  And the taxi driver ‘stole’ one of my pieces. It was mistakenly left in the cab and he gleefully confiscated it.   Welcome home.


Yours faithfully,
Hema Persaud

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