Posted by: nastylittletruths | August 13, 2008

Defining Insanity

I had to be a bit insane to tackle this one, aye? But seriously now, what’s the best description/meaning you’ve ever heard for ‘insanity’? I know a guy, very good acquaintance actually, and his definition (attributed to Albert Einstein) goes something like this, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different result”Well, I guess I could live with that one, but it certainly means we have a serious amount of ‘insane people in TnT…

Obviously, the natural first target for me will be the ‘safe seats’ in a general election. Are Laventillians insane for voting the same party over and over yet expect to get treated better? Have to be if we go by the above definition. Are Siparians and Barrackporeans any different by voting for the UNC (or whatever party Bas is leading at the time) and expecting to get better treatment from a PNM Government? No, they aren’t. (Actually, Arena in Freeport never got any better treatment even when UNC was in power).  Insane, the lot of them…

Any more? Putting back Martin Joseph as Minister of National Security? Making appointments by simple seniority instead of merit?

The genesis of this post was an article I saw on the Newsday about a two-day conference in July organized by WASA and GENIVAR entitled ‘Strategies for Best Practices within the Water and Wastewater Sector” and I couldn’t help snickering. Another talk shop, another ‘master plan’ by highly paid consultants and for whom? WASA… I have heard about/seen plans for WASA done since the 1960’s and not much has changed. Whereas the management and staff have changed and evolved somewhat over the last 43 years (yes, I know how long WASA was incorporated) the culture has remained – minimum effort for maximum pay. The problem has always been implementing.

Here’s an example of how things keep going over and over the same well-beaten track: Also in May, the Newsday had a brief blurb by John Donaldson about how the Minister of Public Utilities briefed the PNM General Council about the “reality of water production in TnT” and how universal metering was the only way to reduce the 40% loss of produced water to 20%. Really? Either the reporter had it wrong or someone was trying to baffle us with BS. Accepting that there are pipelines over a 100 years old in the ground, they didn’t fully explain how a water meter was going to help… Go back a little further in April, there’s a news article quoting the Minister saying that the first of six initiatives to ease the water woes will be an “aggressive implementation of a universal metering ‘pay for what you use’ system”

WASA is losing the bulk of their produced water from leaks in their big old pipes, but installing meters at the houses will help? To make the consumer more conservative?. Insanity. Of course the consumer will conserve and not waste because money is coming out of his pocket. WASA, however, doesn’t move with any haste to fix their leaks as it’s our money paying for that wastage too.

So after the World Bank advised about metering 15-20 years ago and how to go about it – meter commercial customers first and then progress to residential – why are we now thinking it’s the best thing sliced bread? There is a conspiracy afoot I hear. The people who got the contract to install the fancy electric meters (surprise, surprise – same Ministry) are also pushing to sell their products for water meters.  So we get plenty plans, plenty talk, no real implementation for a better water system and some people walk away with a few millions… I guarantee that someone with vested interests at WASA is advising the non-technical Minister.

As a side joke: In my research on this there was an old election story about Mustapha Abdul-Hamid’s picong on the campaign trail about the old, ‘dead’ people who were part of the COP and I have to ask, where did he find Shafeek Sultan-Khan to appoint him as Chairman of WASA? I haven’t heard that name so long I could have sworn that he was probably dead! Same paleontologist who dug up Michael J Williams, Mr. Minister? :-) :-)

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