Thursday, December 27, 2012

Ending the Year

So at the last Bookclub Meeting of the year, we digressed to the awful banking service in Guyana and sat there deciding which was the least of the evils, when one of the members informed us that Scotiabank had introduced a standing charge per month on her Savings account in August and she promptly marched in and closed the account. They had introduced a ridiculous idea of an inactive account - surely that's a good thing you idiots - that you can use the customer's money to your heart's content at a measly rate of 1% you are still well ahead... so the new charge was $500 per month  on an inactive account.
I had originally had opened the Scotiabank account to use as a primarily business one, but as I could never contact anyone by telephone I quickly nixed that idea: . I remembered seeing the $500 charge on my last statement and meant to get around to finding out about it -- as the charge was explained I resolved to close the account at the earliest opportunity.
I was taking the Staff out to Christmas lunch and decided to leave the office 40 minutes early, figuring it would be easy as I was told you just had to avoid the tellers and go straight upstairs to the business section. Ha! The young man told me that it was a teller transaction as I wanted to withdraw my cash-- I said I had a number in another bank that the amounts could be transferred to but apparently that still counts as a cash transaction and the tellers had to do it-- after waiting in the queue for 35 minutes, the teller told me it was complicated and would I mind waiting on the side as several supervisors needed to sign off the account. I said yes-- I minded very much and could she speed things up as I was taking everyone out to lunch. It took over an hour with me signing several A4 bits of paper looking like my bank statement and writing the reason three times why I was closing the accounts.  After an hour, the time we were all meeting at the restaurant came and went and I impatiently grabbed all bits of paper and left. On arriving to the office after Christmas I discovered I had the end of a thermal paper roll with the final amount-- no A4 sheet showing any interest - maybe an inactive account means that you don't get interest but have to pay them to use your money? They are so ridiculous I regret I didn't close the damm account 8 months ago!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Where all the Post Boxes gone?

Made a decision to not support the commercialization of Christmas by spending silly amounts on cards then the ever-increasing cost of postage in addition to being wasteful environmentally speaking, when in fact most people are contactable online.
So was surprised to be so pleased to get a picture of a friend's child in a cute Santa's outfit and hear from a long-lost cousin. As I scrabbled around to send off late cards, my girl Friday asked for 'time-off' to visit her family in another county. Was given a letter to post also and on a rainy day felt the main Post Office was too much trouble to get to; although only a couple of blocks from my office - the Bank of Guyana greedily fenced all pedestrian spaces and the shortcut to the Post Office (can they do that??) making the short journey more cumbersome than it need to be. So I stuck the post in the car and figured I would find a letter-box somewhere - no such luck! All the Post boxes have mysteriously disappeared! It brought back a deja-vu  feeling of cycling to work in England and noticing all the Post Boxes in the City Centre removed following an IRA threat.
I figured with the increase of the 'mad people' on the street bored out of their minds - the GPO must have got fed-up with extraneous things being shoved into their letter boxes - I have that problem to a lesser extent with the one at work. I guess from a business point of view- they would be spending less on salaries to clear Letter-boxes and leave the onus on the customer to find the nearest Post Office?

Monday, December 17, 2012

South Africa and Guyana

An economist pointed out a recent article- Oct 2012 - in The Economist magazine about South Africa rife with parallels to Guyana:

The headline seemed to confirm this observation:

It has made progress since becoming a full democracy in 1994. But a failure of leadership means that in many ways, South Africa is now going backwards.

and seeing as Guyana regarded the restoration of democracy as 1992 it was eerily in the same time-frame.

Naomi Klein in her book 'The Shock Doctrine' alluded to a beaten Mandela touted as a hero worldwide, out of touch with the reality in 1994 and who tamely allowed Mbeke to promote thinly-disguised right-wing policies to basically chuck The Freedon Charter out of the window - she describes very well the heady sensation of the nouveau-economists signing away ignorantly the rights of the country's people and creating a new black elite.  Here the parallels to Guyana become frightening - a breakdown in Law and Order, a wrecked education system unable to produce graduates needed for the new economy- presumably cronyism being the order of the day, a president who ' He came to power promising to tackle unemployment and corruption, but has accomplished little. He owes so much to South Africa’s vested interests that it is difficult to imagine him embarking upon radical reform. If he is simply re-elected without promising anything new,'  (This would definitely apply to the nouveau post-Jagan PPP!)
sigh - the list can go on - maybe all unhappy countries are alike in many ways(apologies to Tolstoy)-- the Multi-nationals and other countries contributing to supporting the exploitation of the country and people, will reap the negative outcomes in nastier ways of destruction of the environment, Public Health issues and inundation by migrating peoples....