2021 grinches and grouses – 2022 wishes

Anne Marie Sirju -
Anne Marie Sirju -


IT’S BEEN a challenging, gruelling, unimaginably difficult 2021 for so many of us.

Compounding covid19, individuals faced lay-offs, financial burdens, relationship dilemmas, static routines, confusing and conflicting pronouncements, horribly depressing news, variants and stresses, in addition to the adjustments to ever-changing protocols during this pernicious pandemic.

To say nothing of the worrying scare every time one ventured forth, returned and wondered if they had been exposed and wold soon no longer be able to breathe properly, wold need oxygen, require a ventilator and die alone, ostracised and forlorn, with no funeral to really talk of.

Goodness knows we have been through the wringer.

But good grief, did we really have to endure yet another Old Year’s Night of senseless, noisy fireworks and bamboo-busting?

This in addition to me recycling water from my kitchen sink to the toilet and plants. WASA was not very kind to me last year and I suppose I was very good. What with my griping and complaining, grinching and griping, maybe I do not deserve water from a pipe.

Girl, stand in the rain and bathe, yuh hear. Do not flush your toilet until the stench reaches your bedroom. Yes, yes, I have been doing this – I flush my toilet once a day unless I have diarrhoea.

So there is noise, dead baby kangaroos in the zoo, animals, babies, old people, the sick and helpless who dread the bamboo, scratch bombs and fireworks with a pulsating fear that very few comprehend. Oh, but it is just for a while, you know, a few hours. What can be so wrong?

Unless you have witnessed something in real, perpetuated distress, hour after hour, you have no clue.

AG, please disregard the fireworks importers and sellers (5,000 people max?) and save one million people and animals who can bear it no longer. Our health, our well-being, depend on this law.

You have to be able to implement this and you can save foreign exchange by simply prohibiting fireworks and scratch bomb imports. After this we will address the bamboo bursting – the police can monitor this.

Note to self: Ensure you write to the AG, compose a compelling piece with well-researched facts and figures about the dangers of fireworks, get signatures, do everything you can to ensure the elimination of the 27 or so sources of noise (just in my small community) which plague these events and go on for hours and hours while my dogs and I go stark raving mad, relegated to Dante’s Hell while my erstwhile neighbours burst bamboo till the wee hours of January 1. No, January 2. Oops, January 3 – some still have unburst bamboo to detonate on my fading eardrums. Animals continue to suffer.

So, Divali and Old Year’s “celebratory noises,” the lack of a reliable water supply – all grinches.

My number one grinch, though, has to be the apathy, inefficiency, absolute lack of communication from the National Insurance Board and National Insurance Appeals Tribunal. As a wronged pensioner, who worked, paid taxes and made NIS (National Insurance Scheme) contributions for 39 years, I am left bereft by the totally inconsiderate attitude of this institution. The only thing it should be instituted for is to inflict silent torture on unsuspecting and uninformed citizens.

I am entitled to a NIS pension that correlates with my contributions. But months after retiring at the age of 60, the NIB Service Centre in Point Fortin informed me they simply had no staff to enter my contributions, not even those from my last five years of employment – nor the myriad missing contributions made over 39 years of employment for which I had provided TD4s, pay slips, job letters, letters from employers addressed to NIB – but they could send me $3,000.

In so doing, they simply ignored several NIS payments I had made – 11 years of missing contributions – for which I had provided adequate and substantive evidence.

Having filed a notice of appeal against the NIB, I have suffered abject disregard by the tribunal and my paperwork has joined the queue since August, 2019. Unlike WASA, I have not been given my number in the waiting queue and have no idea of the date for my tribunal appointment.

Letters go unanswered. I note, though, that my contribution statement of 1387 in 2019 has slowly increased to 1496 and is now 1683. My pension has not been adjusted. A few more years of contributions to enter and the hundreds of contributions the NIB failed to include at the onset of my claim should be on my records? If I should survive? My patience with the NIB and the tribunal has lasted two years, five months, 16 days and counting.

Luckily with WASA my patience has not been put to such a rigorous test. Finally insistent pleas have found their way to someone who cares and the next time in my area WASA pumps water – all four tanks get filled.

Gosh, should a water supply really be the basis of my joy? I guess so…except I can’t help thinking of issues beyond myself for 2022 – my wishes, really.

Keeping all children and animals from harm, ensuring they are safe, comfortable and cared for. Now that would be a most welcome and special 2022 Christmas gift. A gift for every single day, actually – and one for which I would gladly catch rain water and tote buckets from rivers or wells.

Here’s hoping for a peaceful, kind, calm, considerate, compassionate 2022 filled with safe, healthy and happy children and animals; less weapons and wars; more consideration for planet Earth; zero joy trips to space (please invest that money in clean water, education and feeding the hungry, you silly, billionaire wannabe astronauts); much, much more loving kindness, patience and consideration; and every so often WASA, as much as you are able, a full tank of potable water.

Anne Marie Sirju


"2021 grinches and grouses – 2022 wishes"

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