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Time to end traffic nightmares

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Back to back, on Monday evening and then again yesterday morning, two completely unrelated events triggered huge traffic gridlocks on opposite ends of Trinidad.

The first, a huge protest by residents of Rousillac and surrounding communities, who set up as many as ten blockades of burning debris, resulted in a vehicular pile up just around the evening rush hour for several miles along the Southern Main Road. Hundreds of people, including students and workers trying to get home, were caught in standstill traffic for several hours.

That one had barely cleared when another traffic pile up occurred, this time caused by the discovery of a corpse near the Beetham Landfill on the outskirts of Port-of-Spain. The gridlock, at the height of the morning commute into the nation’s capital, resulted in traffic extending past Chaguanas in central Trinidad and Mausica on the East-West Corridor.

No need to recount the losses in terms of productivity and energy, combined with the frustration and anger for the hundreds upon hundreds of citizens trapped in the gridlock—these incidents take place often enough for the resulting fallout to be well known to all.

These incidents highlight the many deficiencies in the country’s road network which make it particularly vulnerable to avoidable traffic jams. Something as simple as a fallen tree or a broken down vehicle can cause traffic nightmares.

The time is now long overdue for a properly constituted traffic management authority to get down to the necessary work of planning, consulting and putting in place systems and policies for a more efficient road system. T&T can ill afford these costly, time consuming incidents.

Turn these good music ideas into action

A lot of good ideas came out of the T&T Music Company Limited (MusicTT) National Stakeholder Engagement and Key MusicTT Implementation Projects event on Monday evening at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s. The same thing can be said about countless public consultations, panchayats and discussions held in this country. However, too many of them get no further than that.

Given the national propensity for plenty talk and no action, the fervent hope is that things will be different this time. It is one of the sad paradoxes of life in T&T that the nation that has given the world calypso, soca and the steelband is saddled with an under developed music industry. The need for more consistent development of that industry is more urgent than ever now as part of renewed focus on economic diversification.

Two projects in particular—the Live Music District and the Artist Portfolio Development Programme—were the focus of the deliberations but there are many other worthwhile initiatives on MusicTT’s agenda that need to see the light of day.

Proper implementation to ensure these activities are sustained and allowed to grow, will not only be a boost for the music industry but the benefits will spill over into tourism, yielding much needed job opportunities and revenue streams.

A milestone for Chaguanas

Congratulations to the Chaguanas Borough Corporation on its 27th anniversary. In October 1990, the area which was once part of County Caroni was declared a borough under the provisions of the Municipal Corporations Act. Chaguanas has grown by leaps and bounds over the years, with thriving residential and commercial communities and is now a strong candidate to become T&T’s next city.


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