In today's world, patience is a very special gift. In spite of claims that the process of communication is faster, action seems to be getting slower. Some may argue that the there a many more people to deal with, every passing day the number increases. However, the results show different. It all boils down to a lack of respect for other people's time. Time is money anyhow you lot at it but one thing is certain every time you pick up the phone to dial someone else's number it incurs a cost. Even worst the person calling may need to reach the other person urgently and get a decision that can make a lot of difference in the particular circumstance. It is a big difference between those who have to make a living and those who make a guaranteed salary.

  It is such a difficult task to reach Executives. There is the telephone that reads out a directory and you have to be intelligent to follow the sometimes complex details, even organizations that are expected to deal with the common man in the street use this type of technology. Then if you are intelligent enough, you respond to the directions and you are happy that you get through only to find out the person you are attempting to reach is at a meeting or not at their desk. A voice mail comes on and you leave a message, days pass and there is no response and the cycle continues.

   We have to develop the discipline to deal with checking our voice mail on our landlines and mobile phones. Regarding the Mobile phone, it takes a little more knowledge to use it effectively. It is being demanded that Mobile phones are turned off in meetings but many users do not know how to stay in touch. An education programme sponsored by the mobile companies will help.

  Too much time is spent trying to reach individuals to get decisions. It appears as though Secretaries / Administrative Assistants will have to be given greater responsibility to deal with persons making enquiries. Sometimes, you take the risk and turn up at the office to get an audience but when you are calling on an Executive without an appointment that is risky and sometimes humiliating.

   Technology has robbed us in my ways and has affected personal relationships. The personal touch used to be the order of the day. Public Relations and Customer Relations used to be high on the agenda. Now it is the machine touch. Our modern Executives in their zeal to move the process of technological advancement forward sometimes forget who are their clients. While a lot of things may be possible in the developed world where the new ideas, products and services are turned out every second of the day, we are always catching up and must be mindful that we are in an environment that does not easily embrace new ideas that needs a learning process.

   We have lost our children to the television and electronic games. They are growing up without the need to rely on family and friends, all locked up in themselves. Their conversation is with the television and they laugh and cry in response to the programme. Many times parents sit around wishing that the children would give them some attention that they can share some precious thoughts. The same is with adults as they immerse themselves in the computer or should I say the Internet in activities of chat room or surfing. Technology is competing strongly to replace the human touch.

   Snail mail has given way to email especially to the younger generation and those persons who had no choice but to get in on the new means of communication. However, many persons as in the case of not clearing their voice mails do the same with emails. Again the persons trying to establish communication are frustrated. Our patience is tested on every side. Without patience we are left to be frustrated and disgruntled with life.

  Life can be easier for all if we would apply empathy see our role as being one that will facilitate the needs of others, dealing with matters expeditiously and firmly. Do apply diplomacy when straight talk is all that is needed. Let your yeah be yeah and your nay be nay! Give a commitment and honour it. If per chance you cannot deliver whether you look bad or not say you cannot deliver this time. Your conscience will be clear whether the person is pleased or not. You have done the best you can. It is a special privilege to be called to serve and if you do a good job you will receive many blessings.

   As we move forward in this our 25 th year as an independent nation, our objective must be to give the best service to our fellow citizens regardless of status in life.

   Patience has brought us thus far, I feel that God has begun to beam a new light upon us and the veil is being lifted. There are signs all around that 2004 will be a great year. For us in St. Lucia it is a year of celebration and realization. "Taking Responsibility for our Country's Development" is a theme that is timely and comes with a challenge that we must change, it can be the same old way of doing business. It just cannot continue to be business as usual. There must be respect for each other and those who are called to serve, must serve with all their being.