A call for compassionate treatment for those in need by govt. agencies

Dear Editor,

I have some concerns in the way some of our government entities, and the system is being carried out here in The Bahamas. So, I am writing to express those concerns and the solutions to these concerns going forward. During this pandemic as we here in The Bahamas also are battling the COVID-19, we all as Bahamians are trying to cope with this situation of not having to go to work and staying at home, as we practice social distancing to avoid the spread of this virus.

Most people are at home at this time, and, if not working from home, we are home getting no income. This situation has caused most people here in The Bahamas to lean heavily on the government establishments such as NIB and Social Services departments, that have been put in place to help or assist with daily necessities of life. I commend the government for continuing such a program for us as Bahamians, or contributors to the system. Is it a great help, especially during this pandemic!

Both government entities play an intricate role in the Bahamian people lives and our families. We rely on these entities to show full concern and compassion and respect us as contributors to the system. I feel that we are being treated with no regard, being disrespected and treated with very low standard, as we go on long lines, and, are turned away by these government departments. As it has been in the past, and still today, even as Bahamians, although we make these contributions, we are still treated with low regards. I can recall at times where I would go on these long lines to receive assistance. Most of the (government) workers would be walking in 10 or 5 minutes to the time of opening of the office and it would be a delay in them coming out to serve us.

They would see the lines very long, but still have us waiting to be at their beck and call. I can recall another situation, whereby I was at Social Services for 6 a.m. The system there was that they only gave out 50 numbers a day and after that you were turned away to come back another day. They are advertising that they are giving assistance on our national television ZNS, just for good face, while they are doing this. I think they should have also advise the people that they are only taking 50 persons per day!

They do not even have the courtesy to have a proper system in place, where a social worker can come out and take the names of the persons that will not be able to be served that same day.

I have heard, and, also witnessed that there are people going to Social Services before the curfew is lifted, just to get a spot on the line!

This means that people are breaking the curfew just to get on this line and to be a number before 50 or at 50! They are creating a “dash and dare devil” situation because if anyone wants to get on this line, they now have to break the curfew in order to be served. I say “dash and dare devil” because it had me wanting to do the same thing, and, be there earlier in order to get served and be the number before or at least 50. So now this act will put everyone in survivals mode, or, a competitive spirit to go out and do the same thing, which is to break the curfew!

After the 50 numbers were given out and I was turned away, I asked the gentleman who was giving out the numbers, what time do they start and if I have to come back another day?

 The reply he gave me was they start at 9 a.m. (but, yet he still gave numbers to persons who were there) and told me I have to come back another day.

I said 'okay.'  But, then I went back to him as I saw four persons went in one car and all of them had numbers in their hands. My concern as a Bahamian is that there is no proper system within a government system, no matter the political party that runs this country. There needs to be proper systems and procedures in place for the Bahamian people to be fully taken care of, to be treated respectfully, courteously, and, most of all with fairness as we seek assistance from our government departments and help during our lowest times, such as this pandemic we are now facing.

I would love to see one day, when we as Bahamians could really treat each other with respect, regardless of political party or nationality, to one day see where we can stand as one, moving forward, upward, onward and together.

Signed,

A Concerned Bahamian (Ciara Curry)

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