Folks have been grumbling about the ongoing collapse of infrastructure across Trinidad. It is becoming apparent that years of neglect has led to an acute problem of failing roads, sidewalks and drainage.
It is, perhaps, a side effect of the “fiscal prudence” the current government has applied because of falling energy revenues. However, there is a big difference between telling public servants to walk with their own toilet paper and leaving the nation’s infrastructure to completely disintegrate.
Anyone who owns a vehicle knows it is cheaper and wiser to maintain it regularly, rather than wait for simple mechanical issues to snowball into costly fixes. Ironically, as vehicle owners, the very state of our roads probably makes this point clearer to you than ever before with possibly more visits to your mechanic than your dentist. Unfortunately, we’ve grown accustomed to cussin’ wind when we go down in a pothole so deep it can reset the mileage. However, we are at a point where infrastructural neglect not only costs road users money; people can be injured or killed.
Every pedestrian is taking a chance walking on this pavement. It might as well be baked by Bermudez the way it crumbles effortlessly into the clogged drains below. Maybe people need to walk “
By the way, looks like this hole is going to need new caution tape. The sticks, while well meaning, aren’t exactly what you’d call high visibility, particularly for us reckless fools looking to use the sidewalks at night.
You can trip on the awkwardly placed palette, break your arse and then tumble into the drain below. Injury meet insult. We kid, but in all honesty, if some concerned citizen didn’t donate from his or her palette collection to block this hole, the injury to some hapless pedestrian would be quite serious.
Lest anyone should accuse us of exaggerating the poor state of our sidewalks, the above photo offers another perspective. If you don’t have your wits about you while walking here, you’re liable to disappear into the netherworld of one of these chasms.
Okay, you civil engineers out there, does this look right to you? Is there enough metal here to bind and strengthen the concrete? Is there more structural integrity in a wooden roadside vending stall?
Oddly enough, a common sight with these gaping inter-dimensional portals is nearby rubble, almost suggesting that the hole was deliberately created. Perhaps, this was done to facilitate emergency access to the drainage below. But who would make a hole and not repair it? That’s WASA’s forte and they have no business messing with drains. It’s a real mystery this one.
Ordinary citizens keen to warn others of our sidewalk dangers are filling in these death pits with anything they can lay their hands on. Of course, using wooden shards bristling with nails doesn’t exactly make it safer, but folks do what they can. Consequently, pedestrians must navigate a slalom of Viet Cong style, anti-personnel traps and speeding cars on a narrow road.
This pothole is so deep and jarring that it can shake any fillings in your teeth loose and find an AM station on the radio. This is one of several similar-sized craters in Chaguaramas that appear to have been caused by meteorite bombardment that apparently didn’t make the national news. More likely than not, it is the result of absent maintenance that is contributing to a general state of collapse across Trinidad.
Thanks to the Aranguez Taxi Drivers Association, scientists are no longer able to access the earth’s mantle through what was once a bone-jangling pothole. It’s a regular practice in this area for people to take it upon themselves to sort out rudimentary fixes. This cement patch won’t last forever, not like the negligence of the authorities anyway. When nothing is the only option on offer, motorists are happy to have this band-aid.
So, it seems not only are we meant to suffer the indignity of failed health care, public services and everything else in Trinidad and Tobago, but basic infrastructural maintenance is simply too high an expectation. There was talk of a pothole repair machine. There was even a sighting in the areas featured in this blog.
In this country, it is likely, someone will have to be killed in an accident directly linked to crumbling infrastructure to get the authorities moving on this glaring problem. Sadly, given our track record, one death will probably not be enough.