Posted by: nastylittletruths | January 28, 2013

Potholes, Politicians and Section 34

After a hiatus of three months (very much self-enforced) I got a re-inspiration, if you will, to return and make some noise because of a pet peeve of mine.

Now everyone who’s been here before know that the two hottest topics are about politicians and driving, so what better than having to write about both? I could have left well enough alone – like I did these last months – but I made the mistake of flipping to the Parliament Channel on Friday afternoon and saw the Minister of Works and Infrastructure, Emmanuel “Deer Caught in Headlights” George complaining about the slow pace of the Pt. Fortin Highway and you get the feeling it’s more about spending more quickly than anything else. But more on that later…

So what, pray tell, does potholes have to do with the infamous Section 34? A very simple answer really: sleeping on the job, or as the local parlance goes, “drawing money under false pretences”. I drive all over Trinidad; I also love maps so “have GPS, will travel” is not only my vacation motto, but also here at home. (You will not believe how many people – especially “tong peeple” – don’t know this island!) And driving here is a tiring, tiring experience made so not only by dangerous and discourteous drivers, but driving in some really bad roads.

So you ask yourself, who are responsible for overseeing the condition of these road and doing something about it? And who do these people report to? And who does these supervisors/managers/directors/etc., etc., etc. report to that nothing is seen and nothing is done for years yet spending TT$7.8 billion dollars to build one highway to access one part of Trinidad is the prime mission – even going so far to say that this is a promise unfulfilled for 60 years. Imagine politicians telling us about unfulfilled promises?

Every morning I cuss whoever is responsible for what passes as an approach ramp to the Guayamare river bridge on my way to work as I refuse to pass through Munroe Road traffic located in Jack Warner’s constituency (as is Warren Road that can swallow cars whole). Why? Because the same incompetent fools who do eventually get up from their slumber to get the pothole/bad road fixed hire an incompetent contractor who botches up the job but still get paid. And the cycle continues because someone signed-off on the job being ‘satisfactorily completed’ and his/her supervisor/manager was fine with and their director was fine with it and we drive on bad roads because as far as they are concerned, it was ‘fixed’..

Section 34 (before the Guardian bussed the mark) had passed through two houses and assented to by the President. It then became a huge issue, more so because the Opposition MPs, Opposition Senators, Independent Senators and the President were all, like the pothole people, asleep on the job. Nothing irks someone into a rage of self-righteousness than when being found out, and all those who masquerade as “seeking the public’s interest” were all shown to be incompetent at their jobs. The PP administration being ‘clever’ as they are ‘try ah ting’ – with no opposition from the other side – and would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for the press.

In the same vein I’ve argued before that we don’t need a President, as presently constituted, nor this chupidness called “independent” Senators, we found out that we really didn’t need an Opposition either! We all know that Opposition MPs have no power except in the House where they can keep the government on their toes, so they failed in their prime responsibility. Do we really have anyone looking out for us?

In closing, I’ll return to George’s pained contribution in the Senate last Friday about the Pt. Fortin Highway only 8.1% complete to say that it only means that the payout from the contractor is slow in coming… Less than 2 1/2 years to go and the money should be disbursing left, right and centre for kickbacks to be masked. Can’t get that money if only small thing being paid out, ent George?

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