The title of today’s piece is a line from the childhood nursery rhyme, LITTLE BOY BLUE. If you recall, little Boy Blue was supposed to be looking after the sheep, but as was his wont, he was instead under a haystack fast asleep. Little Boy Blue reminds us of many of our elected officials – those in high places. Seems, during this Covid shutdown, rather than being about the peoples ‘ business, they are fast asleep. Their brains are operating in slow motion; no new ideas, no initiatives, no attempts to break new ground on languishing projects that might have been put on the back burner on account of other pressing matters during the pre-Covid era. These slackers – and we are using that word to be charitable, because they are much worse – are the Rip Van Winkles of our time.
The disturbing photo on the front page of yesterday’s DAILY OBSERVER spoke volumes. It was proof positive that many of those in high places are fast asleep during this Covid lockdown. For shame! Rather than preparing for that time when our country will eventually reopen, they are somnolent, doing the bare minimum, and accomplishing little, precious little of the things that are of most concern to Antiguans and Barbudans. If the good citizens of this country had any lingering thoughts that those in high places cared about their well-being and this country, they have been soundly disabused of the notions. Those in high places do not care one whit!
The neglect of our infrastructure is manifest, and ubiquitous – it is everywhere. Our once-beautiful city of St John’s is in a sad state of disrepair. Seems, nobody in this administration has an eye for aesthetics. Nobody can see that the sidewalks and gutters are in need of some upkeep; nobody can see that things are falling apart. Alas! We are reminded of the opening lines from William Butler Yeats’ classic poem, THE SECOND COMING: “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.” Sigh! Look folks, the walls of our beloved Country Pond are falling into ruination. So too, is the fence around it. So too, is the fence around the St John’s Public Cemetery. And the historic Botanical Gardens. Just outside of Government House, across from the entrance to the YMCA, there is a deep and wide crater in the road. It has been there for several months, but not one of the good people at Public Works – many of whom traverse that road on their commute to and from work can see it. Talk about see no evil! In fact, there are craters, treacherous craters, on most of the roads, never mind the recent spate of road repairs, but nobody cares. Disrepair is loosed upon our world!
Consider the recent flurry pf activity at Little Creek Bridge. After six long, exceedingly painful, months, this genius administration finally summoned the will to fix the road and relieve the people ‘Roun South’ of their long commuting nightmare. What a disgrace! The people ‘Roun South’ will not soon forget this wilfull and wanton disregard and disrespect. Of course, even as the geniuses are repairing Little Creek Bridge, there is another nightmare a few miles further south near the Cades Bay Pineapple Farm. Another small bridge that lies over a small ghaut was severely damaged during the heavy rains last year, and that too, remains unrepaired – a clear and present danger; a threat to life and limb. We urge road users in that area to proceed with extreme caution.
Which brings us to the front page photo of yesterday’s DAILY OBSERVER. The boardwalk has been practically deserted since last year. One would think that the lull in activity there would be seen as an excellent opportunity for the Public Works, Tourism and Global Port folks to effect much-needed repairs. But alas! Foresight escapes them! The oasis-class cruise vessels, as well as the other regular-sized vessels could soon be making calls again at the St. John’s Harbour, and we are not prepared. The missing woodwork and the unsightly, smelly decrepit drain as seen on yesterday’s front page is a metaphor for the sad state of affairs there, and everywhere. Talk about taking a nap on the job! The aforementioned Rip Van Winkle would be proud!
The Mighty Chalkdust once sang a great song chronicling the many woes facing Trinidad under George Chambers back in the 1980’s – utility company problems, infrastructure problems, and so on and so forth. According to Chalkdust, it was “all one big mess,” and he gently suggested to the embattled Chambers that, “If you can’t run de country, then call-in Kirpalani.” Of course, Chalkie was referring to Ram Kirpalani, an Indian immigrant to Trinidad who turned “everything he touched into a mansion.” Hmmmm!
Wethinks the time has come for our version of Ram Kirpalani.