The wanton indifference

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Our fair Antigua and Barbuda has almost not been fairer or greener in recent times. “The God of nations has let His blessings fall upon this land of ours / Rain and sunshine he has been sending / Filling our fields with crops and flowers.” (paraphrased NATIONAL ANTHEM). Almost every day, He has opened the windows of heaven and poured out showers of blessings on our once-thirsty land. But we’ve been indifferent; nay, downright callous with His providence. Of course, by ‘we’, NEWSCO is referring to the sluggards who are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the Potworks dam. It is a disgrace the way they have been derelict in making preparation for our rainy season which runs from mid-June to mid-November.

Absolutely no effort has been made to clear away the forest that the dam has now been transformed into, what with the bounteous showers. The result of this unforgiveable carelessness on the part of the authorities is that, should we have a significant portion of rain, as we could have if a rain-bearing front were to stall over us for a day or two, not much of it might accumulate in Potworks. The ground there is several inches thick with mud and silt, and the proliferation of foliage would suck up much of the rainfall. In a world full of ideas and ways and means, we cannot seem to summon the will and the ingenuity to figure how to remove some of the accumulated silt from the bottom of the dam. We here at NEWSCO do not believe that it is rocket science. A first-year engineering student could tell us a few things. Moreover, it is a bit of a head-scratcher as to why the authorities have not made an effort to deforest Potworks. It certainly gives new meaning to the expression, “Cannot see the forest for the trees.” Sigh!

In an island prone to severe droughts, (it is said that Columbus by-passed Antigua in 1493 because it was too dry), we should cherish Potworks, named for the pottery-making that once took place there. Sir Papa V.C. Bird, a man of vision, decided that he wanted to harness much of the water that sometimes accumulated in that area during heavy rains, and he went about excavating 320 acres of the low-lying land. As always happens in ventures such as these, many folks ridiculed Papa V.C. Some asked if he was going to fill the dam by relieving himself in it. But he was not to be denied, and shortly after the preparation work was completed, the rains fell and filled the dam to capacity. And the capacity of Potworks – 1 billion gallons of water, is nothing to sneeze at. It is the largest water catchment in the Eastern Caribbean.

This writer recalls one year when the island was experiencing a severe drought and the dam completely dried up (it might have been in the mid-1970’s). That’s when Sir V.C. and a number of churches congregated on the parched bed of Potworks to pray for rain. And did it ever! Several inches fell, a few hours after that great ecumenical event. Seems, the promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14 is true: If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” And heaven knows that our blessed island nation of Antigua and Barbuda needs plenty healing. But that’s another story.

We are sticking to the fecklessness of this administration as it pertains to our horrendous water situation. They appear to be disinterested in cleaning Potworks and preparing it for the rains. In communities all over the world, since the beginning of time, men have studied the weather patterns and prepared their catchments and their farming lands for the rainy seasons. We are clueless to that sort of fundamental thinking. Help us, Lord!

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