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You are taking wrong road

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EDITOR: It might be true to say that there have been more than a few instances when men had, with enthusiasm, embarked on a journey, but after having travelled several miles, they had to be informed by someone else that they were headed the wrong way.

Such seems to be the case respecting the Government’s pursuit in the construction of a cross-country road. It somewhat reminds me of the “saga boy” who wanted a three-piece suit built from a pant’s length.{{more}}

I cannot at all support the construction of a cross-country road at this time. I reject the plan on the basis of five simple points.

(1) St. Vincent and the Grenadines has for some years now been experiencing great difficulty in keeping our existing roads in good condition. Because of the sad state of our economy, it seems we will not, in the near future, be able to generate enough funds to address road maintenance to the desired levels. We would therefore just not be able to maintain the new cross-country road.

(2) Considering the failure of the call centres to provide the large number of jobs hoped for, we must now turn our focus to job creation pursuits, which have good chances of succeeding. The rehabilitation of the coconut industry readily comes to mind. Once the processing capacity is returned to previous levels, many people can become employed almost overnight.

(3) It is difficult to accept that the cutting of a new road, using tractors through an uncharted forested area, necessitating the removal of trees, with the attendant displacing of thousands of cubic yards of soil, will not have a significantly negative impact on that environment for some years afterwards. Combating this, over the short and medium term, is

likely to require so much money that we may then abandon it all eventually.

(4) A strong case for the reasonable expectation of worthwhile economic returns has not yet been made. The argument that more agricultural land would be opened up is fickle. We do not need to access another acre of land for agriculture until we have secured reliable markets. The lands now available are under-utilized.

(5) It is insulting to the populace for any man or small group of men to autocratically undertake the non-traditional use of large portions of state lands, without first getting from the competent experts advice as to whether such usage is feasible.

I, therefore, feel duty bound, as one of the custodians of the natural resources of this state of ours, to indicate to the authorities that they are indeed taking the wrong road. This cross-country road will not lead to prosperity.

Of the Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves and his ministers I ask, why squander the chance of being remembered in honour, when the historians reflect on the happenings of this era of your stewardship?

The risk of overall failure on

this project is too high, not to be reflected upon.

LeRoy Providence