Thu | Jun 4, 2020

Jaristotle's Jottings | Not an easy road to cross

Published:Thursday | September 19, 2019 | 12:00 AM

While reading the front-page story in The Gleaner last week regarding the gaffe of a giraffe crossing on Constant Spring Road, I did not know whether to laugh or cry. Imagine a criss-criss pedestrian crossing that is supposed to span a four-lane highway, but which is interrupted by the concrete barrier separating the lanes of ‘opposing’ traffic, while just beyond is an equally criss opening in the barrier waiting on a pedestrian crossing to adorn its space. Any way you take it, it is not an easy road to cross.

When common sense was a given out, some people obviously never join di line at all.

I wanted to laugh because the matter was quite comical and further confirmation that we have some clowns working on our behalf at various levels in public agencies. Alas, I cut a bawl, because those clowns are actually being paid, with our tax dollars, and a nuh last week dem been palming off shoddy work pon us and gobbling up our hard-earned monies as payment for tardiness and Anasi-ism. Ours has never been an easy road in this regard.

Of course, the blame game began almost immediately, but regardless of which clown was responsible, let me say this: if there were an individual directly responsible for quality control on this project, issues such as this would be non-starters.

But ah no so tings run pon dem projects, cause mistakes, shoddy works, corrective actions, time overruns and the likes thereof generate additional expenditure which redounds to the benefit of the contractors and their benefactors, with no penalties imposed for their tardiness, while we, the taxpaying citizens, are left with little recourse but to suck salt.


Now, the giraffe crossing was catapulted to infamy approximately two weeks after Prime Minister (PM) Andrew Holness sounded a warning to ‘local contractors who have repeatedly gotten away with subpar work at high cost overruns on state projects’.

That said PM, what are you going to do about this episode, where it seems the gaffers in question were napping at the time and missed your warning?

Now people, immediately following giraffe-gaffe, the PM announced plans to implement a $20-billion drainage network to address the persistent flooding issues in areas of Kingston and St Andrew, adding that requests for designs should be ready for issuing to contractors very shortly. That will be one rahtid project, and a welcome one too.

But, before I get carried away, what about the existing drainage system? We are already in the middle of the hurricane season, and I have seen little effort to clear our existing drains and gullies of debris and garbage.

What of the installation of drains along the length and breadth of the ongoing road construction projects, or will there be the usual digging up of freshly constructed and asphalted roads to install them?

I have not heard peep from the PM about dealing with the profiteers in the political arena and public agencies who repeatedly award contracts to the shoddy-work specialists, those contractors who the PM spoke to in his new-found rush of vim, vigour, vitality and accountability. Rid us of the symptoms, but leave the infection untreated?

Neither have I heard peep about addressing wanton littering and improper disposal of garbage, fundamental causes of blocked drains and gullies throughout the corporate area. New drains, same old garbage?

Keep us free from evil powers, the gaffes a la Constant Spring Road, the shoddy-work specialists and their contract-awarding cronies and the litterbugs.

Unless the PM addresses these glaring issues, he will merely be playing a redundant fiddle, Nero-like in stature, while Kingston floods, leaving us with an impassable road leading to nowhere.

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