(This column was first published in the Amandala issue of Friday, April 28, 1995)
Ya da fu we Belize…
Since the above thought was introduced at the time of Independence, one gets the distressing impression that we don’t have a clue what it signifies. All discipline, good manners, courtesy have disappeared. Like an animal released from its leash by his master, we seem to be running amok, wantonly abusing ourselves and our country.
The traffic chaos exemplifies our inability to understand that we are now responsible for ourselves. The children who are forced to play on the streets, the pedestrians who jaywalk daring the cars and trucks to hit them, the cyclist who rides wherever he chooses, including the sidewalk, the driver who stops in the middle of the road to chat with a friend, caring less about those behind him, all contribute to this mess.
Officialdom adds to the nightmare by growing a hedge at the Northern Road from Belcan Bridge. Those turning left to go north must put half their vehicles into the maw of the incoming traffic.
FLASH: SINCE THIS WAS WRITTEN THAT PORTION OF HEDGE HAS BEEN REMOVED.
Traffic coming across from Princess Margaret Drive must contend with that turning off Belcan to enter Save-U. If this is not enough, firetrucks emerging from the Station have to be alert to the speedsters from the north. And trees continue to grow in the pedestrian canal in the same vicinity. In Belize there is never enough of a bad thing. We are now growing one at Albert Street West into Yarborough Road and one at Brodies into Regent Street. Perhaps we should grow one at the Cemetery Road roundabout, and how often have you seen drivers by-passing this roundabout altogether to drive through the gas station? Can you envision one day a speedster slamming into the pump and blowing up self, station and its surrounds? Ya da fu we Belize.
The two-million-dollar Swing Bridge replacements sit basking in the corroding salt air, while the present fossil is an accident waiting to happen. We build a six-million Bel-China one to cross traffic 100 yards to the T at Freetown Road.
Did we learn? Now we build at King Street a bridge to cross Collet Canal – at least this one has the possibility of extending King Street through Rogers Stadium to connect with Gibnut Street. But the one at Kut Avenue? Is Kut going to extend through Rocky Road to Albert Street West? Ya da fu we Belize.
Both private and officialdom seem locked into the same mind set. You would think that at certain key junctions, planners would allow for “siting,” permitting drivers easier and safer access to the major roads. For example, at the corner of New Road and Douglas Jones Street, now a major road because of the six-million wonder; would a simple cut be too much of a property loss?
Would a similar cut at Dean and West Streets have facilitated the driver turning left into Dean off West, preventing some unfortunate child one day from being squeezed into that concrete fence? Ya da fu we Belize.
Belize builds for yesterday and then plans. Corporations and universities, and military planners establish “think tanks.” They pay people to think. These thinkers dream new ideas, forecast trends. They transcend the pettiness and trivialities of political leaders and disregard political expediency. They suggest solutions for the common poor. We should copy the idea of “think tanks.” Ya da fu we Belize. N’Skull.