The Problem With Jamaican Time

Have you ever been invited to an event which claims to start at say 8 am ‘SHARP’? You set your alarm for 8:10 am, you wake up, get ready and arrive at 10 am and still you are early for the event? If you have done this before, then there is definitely Jamaican blood running through your veins. Most events do not start on time and everybody knows it. This is a big problem! The event will either start late or people arrive late.

We have a last-minute nature

We tend to save everything for the last-minute, then rush. For my Biochemistry class I would give them the outline with all the details of a required lab report and ask them to ask questions if they need help. I would wait all week for a question but receive none until the night before the report is due. Of course not all questions will be answered immediately for a large class. Inevitably the reports are usually substandard, whose fault is that?

Often times when advertising a party, you would hear them say “ladies free before x or y time”. This is an attempt to get an early turn-out which rarely happens. Others would use various methods to force persons to arrive on time. These include free giveaways for the first set of persons, subsidized costs or threats of reduced access for late persons.

I often try to calculate the start time of an event just so I don’t waste my time. Earlier this week I had a field trip and was sent an email stating bus leaves at 6am. This was highlighted but I woke after 5 and started some chores knowing they would be late. I was that confident about it! I started packing a few minutes to 6am. When I arrived, the bus, and most persons participating were not present. We left about an hour and a half after the scheduled time. But this is something we now plan for, if you want to start a program at 7, you advertise for 6 or 6:30.

Imagine how much more we could get done if we adopted a culture of punctuality. We can, but we need people to start the process. I hate tardiness and when given the opportunity and the level of control, I start my programs on time, independent of the tardiness of some participants. What I did with the Biochemistry students to achieve compliance is to refuse any late reports.

Let us be on time and erase this detrimental feature of our culture. Let us start right now, not one hour later.

-Aldeam Facey 2015

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