Features — 13 July 2019
This road disrespects villagers

If I was paranoid, and if I felt that big people in this country paid attention to what I do or say or write in my column, and those big people weren’t happy with me, wanted to cut me down to size, wanted to show me that I don’t count for much of anything, I could explain why they created this dangerous madness of a highway that passes through the village where I live.

I have been putting in my pound on road safety over the years to readers of my column. Those who read my column know I’ve written many times about the pathway in my village, the need to complete it, and the need for pathways in all our villages. Now a government comes along and disdainfully obliterates the incomplete pathway in my village.

If you are a speed merchant who has no love for the people who walk and ride bicycles, you are in glee over what the government has done. It is the opposite if you are a village youth. This time of year, with school in recess until September, they would get on bicycles and ride as far as San Ignacio and Belmopan and Cotton Tree, to visit their friends. It is too dangerous for our youth to ride much anymore.

I am not a member of Camalote’s village council, but every citizen has rights, and it was my business to know about this road when they were “upgrading it.” I did ask questions when I saw them working on the road, and I was satisfied, in words, that we would get a proper pathway after the works on the highway were completed.

Have you ever seen something happening before your eyes but didn’t grasp the full implications because it was too out of this world? I was told we would get a proper, better pathway. I couldn’t believe it possible that a government would sign off on a road design that completely disrespected the lives of villagers.  As the work progressed you could see that the pathway was not included in the plans. And now that it is done we can only shake our heads in disbelief.

It’s not the pavement. The road was in need of repaving. Raising the road so high (someday I’ll provide pictures) was unnecessary and it will cause many people’s properties to get swamped when the rains come. The shoulder of the road is now way too narrow. And they also obliterated our pathway.

The designers of the road included engineers and environmentalists. The environmental group that did the assessment claimed that they had interviewed people, but when I looked at the report I saw no names of the persons they interviewed, where and when the persons were interviewed, what they were doing when they were interviewed, and what questions they were asked.

There were a few areas, about five or so, between Roaring Creek and Santa Elena, Cayo, where water ran over the road when it rained heavily. These are areas where there are rainy weather creeks, and the culverts were too small for the load when rains were excessive. Belmopan is more than 200 feet above sea level, and out here we are on higher ground than they are.  I don’t know anyone who understands why they raised the entire road, when all that was needed was for larger culverts to be put in places where they were needed.

Villagers in Camalote and Roaring Creek know their properties are in for swamping because they have raised the road so high. Everyone is on high alert for when the big rains come, and there is a little church in Roaring Creek that will experience a flood.

This popular church in Roaring Creek can now be called, Church in the Valley, thanks to the inconsiderate new road. Their theme song must now be: There’s a church in the valley “in Roaring Creek”, No lovelier spot in the dale, No place is so dear to my childhood, As the little brown church in the vale. Everyone wonders how older members get into and out of their church now.

Walking on the road is now more dangerous because the shoulders of the road are so narrow.  Some people, for safety, just step down to the bottom of the drain 3, 4 and 5 feet below the road, when they get off the bus. The shoulders are so narrow it is wise to step down into the drain, to escape getting run over by the rear wheel of the bus.

The other day I saw a young girl make one step to the side of the road to give an elder a pass and she almost tumbled on her head into the drain.

I’ve met at least one of the absurd persons who said that the road through our village is a highway, and we are incidental, and they also said that there should be bus stops along the route, and the buses should only be allowed to pull up at the stops. It does get tedious for the buses to make so many stops, but their remedy is outrageous.

On this remodeled highway they put in two bus stops in my village, and they are a mile and a third apart. This mile plus of highway between the bus stops is a race track for some. The speed on the road has increased by at least 10 mph. Anybody who says otherwise should check their driving history. If you travelled at 30 mph through the village you are now doing 40, and people who did 50 are now doing 60.

There is no pathway between the bus stops. Our people are supposed to walk a half or three-quarters of a mile with their load, on a road that has a very narrow shoulder. Some children have to walk more than a mile to school, on the shoulder of this road, with vehicles zipping by them, some going as much as 60 mph.

There are spots on this road that needed special work. A taller bridge was needed at Roaring Creek, and higher approaches. That area is in a flood plain. In Teakettle there was need of a small bridge over a mini-creek because the area is prone to flooding. There are a few more areas like that on the George Price Highway between Roaring Creek and Santa Elena, Cayo. The entire road needed repaving, but just a few areas needed to be raised.

What they have done is wasteful, and the felony is a thousand times compounded because there was no consideration for the safety and ease of movement of villagers.

The present government likes to boast that winning elections is everything about them doing something right and by inference that means that their success has nothing to do with their opposition being feeble. It is surprising that anyone in Roaring Creek and Camalote voted for UDP councilors. But a party in power will get some votes because they control so many things.

UDP Teakettle reportedly won, but the road that doesn’t respect villagers’ lives is just being worked on in that village. We shall see how they vote when they grasp the full madness of this highway.

Rapinoe’s sex story as offensive as Joe’s

In the 1970s there was a super football player, Joe Namath, in the American Football League. Namath had guaranteed a victory in Super Bowl III, his New York Jets over the Baltimore Colts, and that victory catapulted him to icon status. Everybody wanted a piece of Namath, and writers who didn’t care so much about sports found him a good subject about sex.

Namath was a loose fellow, proud of his debauchery, and he gave those writers who wanted to tell stories about sex all the fodder that they could want. It got so that you couldn’t read a story about Namath without mention about where he was the night before. I told you sometime back about this silly sports writer who stuck her microphone in Roger Staubach’s face and asked him how come he didn’t like sex as much as Joe did. Roger, who was also a famous football player at the time, told her that he loved the deed as much as any man, but he was a family man.

Joe is not so young now, and he is still overplaying his night life. It all crashed when he, trying to prove his machismo, tried to kiss a female reporter on air. He was drunk at the time, but that wasn’t the story behind his disappointing act. Those reporters who egged him on have all the blame.

I thought the female World Cup lost some luster because there were so many stories about Megan Rapinoe and her gay life. I don’t mind that this lady wants the world to know that she is gay, but I don’t want to hear a word of it in my sports. Dammit, sports reporters: talk about ball! Rapinoe’s pretty good at that, pretty good. Human interest stories about sports heroes are good, but lessons about gay living are not human interest: they are gossip.

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Deshawn Swasey

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