Sunday, March 04, 2012


Sound of Silence

Last Tuesday or Wednesday news starting making the rounds that telephone lines at police stations were disconnected. As the day progressed we also learnt that several clinics, schools and some government offices were without phone service. LIME, the telecommunications service provider had cut the disconnected the lines for nonpayment of bills.

Since then recriminations have been fast and furious. The Government seeking to do damage control blamed civil service management for the escalating bills which cost the government approximately 300k mthly. Opposition talk shows firmly laid the blame at the Government's feet for its mismanagement of the country's financial resources while those sympathetic to the government blamed inefficient workers. From where I sit, the Government has a lot of egg on its face. Although I agree with the PM that phones are abused it still is the Government's responsibility to pay its bills. The public does not see abuse but an empty treasury that cannot meet its bills. It's terrible publicity which any central government would rather not face.

Having said that I found it perturbing that LIME would take the drastic measure of cutting service from the police stations and to a lesser degree the clinics. While I totally agree that monies owed to them should be paid their action smacks of irresponsibility. It's like Vinlec disconnecting the hospital's electricity or CWSA its water. For every second the lines remained silent the country's security was compromised. While we often knock the Police they are the first place we turn to report incidents that threaten us or our loved ones. So couldn't they have allowed calls to go to the stations but bar those going out? It would have been just as effective in getting the message across. Anyway I guess all's well that ends well-at least for now since service has been restored. However, with bills in excess of 300k mthly it is safe to assume that unless phone lines are reduced and/or stricter controls enforced the Government will struggle to pay its phone bills. The sound of silence may well become a frequent occurrence

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