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 PiÃ±ero 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.”