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Nothing’s going to change

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

At the Crystal Stream and Diego Martin Highway intersection, quarter to five in the morning, the lights are green, a rarity. In the over 30 years that I have come to this intersection, the light must have been green fewer times than I have fingers. I am accustomed to stopping here. If I don’t stop, it throws off my routine. I turn right, accelerate and almost immediately have to partially pull over onto the fast lane—thank God no one is coming. A small SUV is trying to overtake me as he merges with the highway. He brakes, does the Trini one-two swerve to get behind and past me, and disappears into the distance. Five minutes later, passing through St James, windows down, enjoying the sight of street dwellers urinating on the sidewalk in front of the police station—maybe they are police—there he is again, cruising along slowly.  


Suddenly he swerves right, into an oncoming car and then swerves back and then, almost without hesitation, tries to swing into a parking space too tiny for even his car and, realising his error, turns back aggressively into the street and accelerates again—leaving me and the doubles-eaters in front of the primary school open-mouthed. Three bad drives and it’s not yet 5 am. In September I drove 1,450 miles in the UK, in big cities and small towns, on winding country roads and misty hillsides, and never got a single bad drive. But then the British have some consideration for their fellowmen, do obey their traffic laws and do see police on their roads. We have moved away from all that in our movement—I hesitate to call it evolution—as a people and 40 years after Independence, we now have to decide if we want to pull ourselves out of the trough we have created or continue our downward journey.


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