Soon there will be a ghost town

 

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Category: Trinidad Society Date: 21 Aug 05

 

In 20 years’ time, this place will be a ghost town. The IMF’s Vision 2020 conjures illiterate poor people—some dying of HIV/Aids—squatting in huge empty stadiums, empty trains clattering up and down the East-West Corridor, a single flying blimp benignly watching the cut-throat survival crime below.

 

Classrooms will be used as playgrounds for illiterate knife and gun-wielding children.

 

Thousands are even now joining the huge band of over 500,000 existing functionally illiterates in our country.

 

Professionals, businessmen would long have left.

 

They are leaving in their thousands even now, when money is floating in oil.

 

Foreign investors will disappear entirely.

 

The IMF has warned us. So has the UN. With our health and education in this calamitous state, we have slid to the bottom of the development index.

 

By 2015, our oil wells will be dry. By 2025 there will be no natural gas left.

 

Instead of saving, diversifying, planning for the drought ahead, we are blowing our money on a spending spree that is either stupid or corrupt, or both.

 

The adjustment when the money has run out, according to the IMF, will be “sudden and massive.”

 

The IMF has expressed concern that the plethora of new bodies set up to spend this largesse (outside the ambit of Parliament and Central Government) will facilitate corruption.

 

The Government that got into office decrying the wildly overblown budget for the airport funds is spectacularly outdoing their predecessors.

 

Look at what we throwing our money at now.

 

Minister Keith Rowley recently announced that the Government should consider a “light train transport” system for the East West Corridor at a reported cost of $15 billion.

 

Assuming that the $15-billion railway would last 50 years, at the rate of $300 million a year, the Government could put 430 large, manned maxi taxis running 24 hours a day on our roads. Free. See rough calculations below to put one maxi taxi on the road.

 

Cost of 24-seat maxi taxi

(changed over two years) $200,000

Cost of drivers for

24 hours per day $240,000

Cost of natural gas $30,000

Cost of maintenance, etc $100,000

Profit for maxi owner $120,000

Total $690,000

 

Tarouba Stadium

 

After being condemned by every commentator, business organisation and even religious groups, since no reasonable justification had been put forward, Prime Minister Manning said the Tarouba Stadium was “necessary” as a back-up in case Grenada was unable to host the cricket World Cup, because of the damage it sustained in last year’s hurricane.

 

Has the Prime Minister forgotten that his cabinet colleague had already promised to fund the refurbishment of Grenada’s stadium?

 

Cost of the Tarouba Stadium: $850,000,000

Cost of rebuilding Grenada stadium $138,000,000

 

Obviously, we should help the Grenadians and save some $700 million. We spend less than $200 million a year on health capital expenditure. Imagine what we could do with $700 million?

 

Refurbish hospitals to First World standards, with state of the art equipment, total access to drugs, hospital beds for all.

 

The Blimp

Therefore, for the cost of a blimp we could have 60 vehicles, properly manned, on a 24-hour basis at intersections at hot spots (Belmont, Laventille, East Port-of-Spain) and save so many mothers tears, or establish Comp stat—the computer system set up by the former Commissioner of Police in New York Bernard Kerick, under which homicides dwindled rapidly. Then there is the port which will be upgraded for $400 million and then knocked down and built again for two billion, and so much more. Spend, spend, spend. Like there’s no tomorrow.

 

Maybe there won’t be a tomorrow. Vision 2020. White elephants in an eerie ghost town.

 

Cost of Blimp rental: $35,000,000

Cost of seven officers

(needed to man the vehicle) $420,000

Cost of vehicle rental

(inclusive of insurance, service, etc) $84,000

Cost of gas $36,500

Cost of equipment $35,000

Total $575,500

 

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All Articles Copyright Ira Mathur