Blood and cement

As if the recent shortage of cement in Jamaica was not bad enough for the construction industry, I read in today’s Gleaner that companies will now have to factor the cost of blood offerings into their budget plans:

CONSTRUCTION WORK came to a halt at the Piñero Group hotel site in Pear Tree Bottom, near Runaway Bay in St. Ann, yesterday, after a section of one of the buildings collapsed, pinning workers beneath the rubble. […]

“I was taking a rest when I saw the building falling down with a man on top of it, holding a vibrator and screaming for help,” a contractor told The Gleaner. “When he reached ground, I rushed over and began removing huge chunks of concrete that buried him from the waist down. […]

The freak accident forced the emergency services to scurry to the scene where they engaged in a rescue and investigation operation.

The workers contend that the 16-foot columns in the area that buckled were not shored up properly to reinforce them for decking.


But they have since expressed fear to continue labouring at the site, as they believe a supernatural force is behind the increasing number of accidents there in recent months.

“They will have to kill seven cows and seven donkeys to quench the thirst of the land with blood,” one worker commented.

Another man, who has only been employed for two months, remarked: “The lands want blood; every week people fall off the building. One man fell from the third floor just last weekend.”

Apart from the instant and precise solution to the problem, what appeals to me is the choice of words and information. No UK or US press would use the verb scurry to describe the arrival of emergency services. Adding the seemingly irrelevant information that the final commentator had only been employed for two months jolts me into wondering if there is not a hidden reason for this information (Maybe he’s behind it all!).

The writer also captures the idiosyncracies of the workers’ world, the contractor describing the fall with the delightful understatement, “When he reached the ground”. And to prove that there’s an Old Testament prophet on every street corner in Jamaica, the second worker comments, “They will have to kill seven cows and seven donkeys to quench the thirst of the land with blood.”

Note: the prophesy seems to be a mix of Genesis 41 and Jeremiah 46:10. I think he was just ad-libbing with the donkeys.

3 thoughts on “Blood and cement”

  1. Now one has to really wonder, was any of that faulty cement to blame for that mishap? I mean surely the engineers on site knew how much support would be nneded, when and where while constructing the building. From what I hear this is a company that has been around for quite some time.

  2. LOL… You really had me laughing at this one! Sorry for the workers of course.
    DI, you may just ahve something there re the faulty cement. Hey, I hope none of that cement has been sent to Trelawney to the new Stadium or to Sabina for the renovations there… that would not be funny…

  3. OH MY GOD, and I was there in March!! I could have been haunted

    Heard that it had nothing to do with bad cement, bad engineering practices caused by rush.

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