By Pierre V.L. Dupuch
May 1, 2012
Cliches roll off the lips of some people so easily that I often wonder if some sort of jelly has been put on their lips. People should understand that when one says “we deliver” it must mean that something is in fact being delivered.
It does not mean that what is being delivered is necessarily good, so the FNM is not really lying when they say, “we deliver.” However, an intelligent person would ask himself, “What are they delivering?” The Chinese supervised the road out west, and they are good, well laid out, well landscaped and marked. The Prime Minister, Hubert Ingraham, takes credit for that. So he must also take credit for the road works his government supervised and botched up.
For at least six months, I travelled from Jerome Avenue to Sandyport. Everyday I had to take a different route because the road I travelled the night before had been closed and dug up. One main street was made narrower, the sidewalks wider and at least one foot high, and then the road was made one way. I often wondered how the traffic could let an ambulance, a police car or a fire engine through. The side walks were too high to pull your car onto, and the street was too narrow to let them pass. Possibly the powers that be discovered this and dug up the street. The only problem is that this cost the taxpayer more money.
I work near Marathon road. I watched them dig it up, re roll, and repave it at least four times. And it does not seem to be finished yet.
One morning the excavators, rollers and other equipment arrived at the area on Wulff Road, between Jerome Avenue and Kemp Road. It was closed off and up came the entire road. Then the equipment stopped, and was left parked in the middle of the road and all workers disappeared for two days.
The work there lasted several weeks, and then one day I saw a big roller going back and forth, leveling and packing the road. Finally, I thought, the road was about to be paved. The next morning, to my horror, they had dug a hole at least ten feet deep and ten feet wide, and were working on some pipe there. Finally, the holes were closed, the area rolled again, the tar went down and the road was opened.
Great. But who paid for the inefficiency? A new road was delivered along with a bill costing three times
what it should have. Some pompoms were given out, along with some goatskin drums to pacify the people and all is well!!! Yes, Hubert Ingraham delivers.
Medians have been put on two lane roads, making it difficult if not impossible to pass. What are they for? They cost money … taxpayer money!
But Papa delivers!!
What I have just described happened all over this island. It was a study of bad planning, poor leadership, poor workmanship, massive cost overruns, inefficiency, and no discipline.
The contract price was about $100-million. Overruns on jobs are usually no more than 10%. The overrun price on this job; however, is something like $90-million and climbing! This is almost a 100% overrun.
Yes, Hubert Ingraham and his Government surely have delivered … a large bill to the taxpayer. How is it going to be paid? Hubert Ingraham nonchalantly says, “We’ll borrow some more.” Fine, but who’s going to pay that bill? You, the taxpayer.
But the most important thing has been missed, the people. Hundreds of small, “mummy-papa” stores have lost a tremendous amount of money. Many have had to close down. Collectively, millions of dollars have been lost.
Hubert Ingraham says he will reimburse them all. No, he won’t. He can’t. In business it takes a lifetime to build it up. Markets have to be created. When people or clients move, they seldom come back. His administration has destroyed their mamma-papa businesses.
But the FNM delivers. They sure do.
Hubert Ingraham and his Government are lucky. In any other civilized country, he and his government would have been forced to resign and a Commission of Inquiry appointed.
And I suspect that many of them would be delivered, straight to jail!!
But it is not good, I suppose, to criticize what has happened without saying what should have happened.
Let’s start out by saying that doing necessary road works during a depression is a good way to get money into circulation. Its a good idea. But to waste money is never a good idea. It inflates prices and forces the taxpayer to pay more.
What should have happened is this: the government should have had an overall plan drawn up, sat down with all concerned, discussed all the ramifications and then started. All Ministries that were affected should have been involved and committed to a schedule.
The businesses and people in the area should have been considered and the road work devised so that nobody would be adversely affected. No road should have been completely closed down. They should have worked half the road at a time.
Having gotten all together, and a plan devised, then and only then should the road have been closed. The most important part of the plan was what personnel, equipment and materials should have been surveyed to determine how much could be done in a week.
After all this is done, the road works could begin. The road dug up, trenched, utilities such as BEC, BATELCO, Water and Sewerage, Cable, etc. installed, the trenches would be closed, the road tarred and then the crew and equipment could move on.
If this were done, nobody would have had any undue stress or more expense. Then the FNM could legitimately claim success.
Instead, they have delivered a road to some, bankruptcy to others, joblessness to others, chaos to New Providence and a massive debt to an entire Nation.
On May 7th the voters will decide whether the FNM government has made well-planned futuristic decisions resulting in a prosperous economy, or knee jerking decisions that have resulted in a bankrupt economy, joblessness, skyrocketing crime and record levels of National debt.