Our Readers' Opinions
October 29, 2004
Why rush to build cross country road?

Editor: I find it somewhat disturbing the way that my government has been dealing lately with anyone who raises any question surrounding the proposed cross country road.

Note that I said MY government because any dissenting voice seems to be immediately branded as some agent of the Opposition. {{more}}

Forgive me for straying a little off topic, but it is necessary to prevent the type of response that was offered to the articles written by people like Dr. Adrian Fraser recently. My allegiance runs from YULIMO to UPM to MNU to ULP.

The square where I grew up in South Rivers was the cradle for the MNU and I consider myself and most of the people I grew up with, like Hucks DeFreitas, Chrys Ralph and Ephraim Johnson to name a few, to be the true original soldiers in this movement that eventually became the U in ULP.

The government seems intent on going full steam ahead with the project, the main reason being that it was a major part of its election manifesto, hence an election victory meant a green light from the people to proceed. The truth is, cross country road or not, the ULP would have won the elections because people simply had enough of the NDP regime.

Do I support the cross country road? I do not know and many people feel the same way but are just afraid say it. The simple reason being that sufficient information has not been put forward to this point to help with an informed decision.

So far the main milestone achieved has been a digital map of the proposed route, which essentially gives information on shape of the landscape in area, but there is no substitute for knowing the actual conditions on the ground. To date there hasn’t been much done in this regard.

Conditions on the ground will help to determine the need for retaining walls, bridges, elevated roadways, drilling, blasting, tunneling – all of which will affect the cost of construction, and without a half-decent handle on this kind of information it’s difficult to see how a reliable cost estimate could be made.

In my opinion the government is not under any pressure to build the road immediately and if it is not built the people will not take to the streets of Kingstown and riot.

Barring some major turn of events, the ULP will most likely win the next elections. So what is the rush? By my estimate, the ULP has at least six more years to do the necessary groundwork and try to get the project right, and even if it’s not built it would not cost them an election by itself.

Remember, guys, this is not a One-Day match where you are batting last with one ball left and four runs needed to win so you have to hit a boundary no matter what. It’s the beginning of a long Test series and to play a respectable innings you have to watch every ball carefully and know which ones to leave alone, especially in early going when the ball is still new. This is one of them.

With time and patience comes a better knowledge of what you are facing and then those same balls could be heading for the boundary later in the innings.

Francis Pereira