Monday, November 26, 2012

Letter: The economy needs the highway

“When the Americans came and planned a new highway through his property he gave his garden up without a word and signed on gladly as a labourer, for wasn’t this something big, something important to the whole island, something that would last?” – Tiger – A Brighter Sun – Samuel Selvon.

I am quite sure that Dr Kublalsingh and many literature students are quite familiar with the above quote, and I am sure he knows if he continues, he is sure to suffer the faith of Sookdeo in the esteemed Selvon novel – Death. 

According to John F Kennedy, “Building a road or highway isn’t pretty. But it’s something our economy needs to have.” 

Can one imagine, in Trinidad today, everyone entering Port-of-Spain, passing through the Eastern Main Road? Tiger really knew what he did in Barataria in the 1930’s! Didn’t he?! 

Now don’t get me wrong, Kublalsingh’s stance is quite admirable – I respect that he stands for what he believes, albeit I fail to believe he survived without water especially with temperatures in the mid 30s in his makeshift camp – is he getting it through osmosis from his swimming pool?!

This hunger strike has been about publicity – with Kublalsingh raising his clothes and exposing himself and a warm meeting place for the politically dead  - climbing out their graves. It gives the 285,000 persons that voted against the Partnership in 2010 the opportunity to make a joyful noise unto Kublalsingh! – The Mahatma of Trinidad – who may occasionally curse Ministers of Government.

Now I agree with protecting the ecosystem and biodiversity but Trinidad and Tobago is literally a tropical paradise, full of biodiversity and nearly everything we do affects it, but change and development must be embraced. 

In the 1940s Trinidad’s population stood at approximately 400,000 – when the Churchill Roosevelt was built. According to the national census in 1980 the population stood at approximately 1,000,000 – today it stands at a little over 1,300,000 an increase in nearly 300,000 over the past 20 years. 

Who would have imagined in 1940 the volume of vehicles passing through the Churchill Roosevelt as there is today? In 2007 we stood at number 44 in the vehicles per capita list. Where would the population be at 2030? 2050? How many would be from the Point Fortin area?

How many would need to leave Point Fortin at 4am to ensure they arrive at Port-of-Spain for work at 8am? How many would have to move and rent in already heavily urbanised areas because of the traffic?


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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai