Dirty deed done, what should I tackle next? Another visit to Tax Administration Jamaica

Now that I have merged my identities, what next? Well, I want to start a few processes that  can now flow without confusion about how my name is spelt. One of these involves getting a police record; the process for this is spelt out clearly by the Ministry of National Security. screen-shot-2016-09-08-at-9-20-05-amNow, I have some issues with it–especially, this business of hoofing from pillar to post to get things done–but I will defray raising them now. So, off to my local tax office I went this morning: they open at 8am, so it fitted nicely with my routine and I walked across the golf course to get there, as my car is being repaired. Nice and cool, and great to see the traffic backed up on Constant Spring Road.

As I entered, I saw the line for the Information Desk, and within seconds I was being directed to the ‘Express Line’: impressive, and no one was in it. I was attended to immediately. I explained that I needed to pay the fee for a police record. The official explained the three fees that were based on speed of processing the record; I picked the middle option. I explained what had just happened with my name. I knew that I needed to get my TRN corrected, and that process was being started today. However, the official wondered if the name change would affect the eligibility of the fee. I asked him why it should: the fee shows that monies have been paid to start the process, and my dog could pay it for me. But, the TRN tagged to the process would still have the old spelling of my name, so we were stuck, maybe. The young man called over a supervisor, who called another colleague and we had a nice discussion about the sense of this, and how we could move forward. Smart young fellow suggested annotating the printed receipt, showing my old name, with my new name. I hope that will work. Money paid. Receipt received. Out of there! Ten minutes, from start to finish; I’d put that in a box of fast service.

Lovely though it is that the tax office has wifi, I’d much prefer being able to make any payment online, especially when I will be doing essentially that in an office. If I’m a cash or cheque payer, different story.

So, I will give Tax Administration Jamaica an A-, for having clear, solution-oriented staff working the desks. The jury is still out on the process, and we have to see what happens when I try to make the next step. Wish me luck! 🙂

September–let’s remember: All the eyots

The sound of the word ‘eight’ in English is one of those that fools and annoys. In its usual way, English pronunciation gives  a sound ‘ait’–aeet. So, we know how to pronounce freight and weight, which is the same as straight, but not the same as fright and wight and blight. That e is so important in changing the sound. 

I was quite comfortable until one day, watching the annual Thames Boat Race, I heard the BBC commentator mention the ‘Chissick aeet’. The what? The Oxford and Cambridge crews each had eight men rowing in their boats, so who were the other eight that I couldn’t see? Well, first, you must know that ‘Chissick’ is actually the place in west London named Chiswick, which was a neighbourhood a few turns round the River Thames from where I was living in Hammersmith. The ‘aeet’ was actually eyot, or ait, a small island in a river. It took me a while to catch on. But, once I did, I was ready to eat all the eyots you could throw to me. It was a short walk to the river, so I had to go to see the eyot with my own eyes, then impress my friends by telling them that it wasn’t just an island, but…

Which touches another quirk. The past tense of eat is ate; yes, pronounced ‘aeet’. 

These are just some of several English homophones, but among the few that involve numbers. One and won and wan, are another set; as are two, to, and too; abs four, for, for, and fore.

When you live in a place like Jamaica, however, where we’ve re-engineered English, we create more homophonic confusion–and you’d better not create other homo-confusion. 

We habitually drop the h sound. So, words like hate become ‘ate’. A Jamaican could ‘ate eight’, meaning he or she dislikes the number, not consumed a said number. He could also say ‘ate eight’, meaning seven dumplings weren’t enough, so go for one more. 

Such is the joy of this quirky language, where you can stand in a row to row your boat, then get in a row about the roe in the fish you caught. 

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