quartet of comments from people in this country continues this week with
the voice of a downtown businessman.
we were not a jokey country many people would have resigned after the fire
in downtown Port-of-Spain that razed the Peopleís Mall to the ground,
and destroyed so many others. Starting with the Mayor of Port-of-Spain.
Why did he and previous mayors and Town and Country Planning allow a mall
of vending booths to develop, that did not meet a single planning
requirement, neither structural, health nor fire in the middle of the
capital city. Why was this building not inspected?
businessmen feel that the fire represents a failure on the part of the
Government. The State ought to be held responsible; not just entrepreneurs
who have grown businesses, earning an honest living, the people we want to
encourage, who have lost every cent theyíve had in the world, but also
for businesses lost in Queensway.
we werenít jokey the Minister of National Security would have also
resigned because, according to him, a vital department in the middle of
our populated city has been starved of funds to buy basic equipment and
thatís not important!
our fire service cannot put out a fire in a two-storey building in the
middle of the city, what is going to happen if there is a fire in the Red
House, in the National Library, in the Twin Towers, in broad daylight,
midweek, when the place is packed with people? Charred dead people,
is symptomatic of all the rot. Six billion dollars lost in Wasa and we
still canít get water flowing in the hydrants in the capital city. If
Wasa canít provide water downtown, can you imagine how terrible it is
for people everywhere else? If we werenít jokey we would have fired the
entire Wasa board.
is making any hard decisions. Everybody is passing the buck. Everybody is
accepting the fat pay cheques from the treasury but nobody is taking
responsibility, and nobody is being held responsible. Nobody is working.
Thatís why nothing will change.
from the Brian Lara Promenade at one end and the Savannah at the other,
Port-of-Spain is the ugliest capital in the West Indies. It is a filthy
city piled with garbage. It is delusional grandiose pomposity to want to
be the financial headquarters of the region, the seat of the Caribbean
Court of Justice and the FTAA. You look up and there is a mess of hideous
telephone and electricity wires everywhere. The roads have been so
sloppily paved. They are curved and bumpy and pitted with potholes.
Heritage buildings are razed without a thought. Nothing is preserved.
flood every time it rains because the outlet pipes are lower than the sea.
We need big pumps. The drainage division knows what to do. The corporation
knows what to do. Nothing listed here cannot be solved within six months
if people have the will and are held responsible.
is the Vendors Association, where is Doma, where are the people who
struggle through floods and traffic and garbage to and from work every
day? We should all be asking questions.
sad state of Port-of-Spain is symptomatic of our rot and thatís why,
despite the oil money, we donít change.
is not a political point. It is just laziness on a general scale. You see
the same rot in health, in education, in crime. Nobody is being held
responsible for all the ill, the illiterate, the criminals. Nobody is
doing the plumbing. Meanwhile, beneath our infrastructure is rattling and
rusting, burning and falling down around us. It can be fixed in six
months. It just needs a will. Port-of-Spain has been under fire, now
itís time we give somebody thunder or we will all fall down. Take it
from me, a downtown businessman operating here for 30 years.
Quartet to be continued