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Saturday, November 28, 2020
Home Features UDP dishonesty way past Sharpie pen

UDP dishonesty way past Sharpie pen

I think the whole world heard when the US’s former president charged that the other party was teefing the election. My, even in the famous America! I heard one pundit, a poor, desperate soul, charge that something was up with some Sharpie pens, and I am old enough to remember a way back when, when there were accusations of the wikid old PUP using an ink that made the mark on ballots for the opposition disappear after a few hours.

Their prez wasn’t the only one who was ballistic, and by their behavior they exposed that these Americans are just nouveau riche who have the bomb, nothing in the class of the British. Hmm, maybe I’m being unfair, because we cannot ignore the passion that was flowing at the highest temperature during their election exercise.

A bit of the chatter over there is about Sharpie pens; my, our UDP is way past that. They’re into more mature stunts, dirty white collar crime. In 2015 it was buying BTL and deceiving us about the price, and in 2020 their game is just as low. The UDP has become “proprietary” with our assets, and what they’re doing to try and get by in the election is oh so devious. The corruption in this party is so endemic now that they don’t know right from wrong, and worse, they don’t care.

It’s a fine bridge, but it’s in the wrong location

From days of yore when I was a young man working on my uncle’s farm in Cayo South, I heard the talk about a new bridge over Roaring Creek, because frequently Belizeans who lived between Roaring Creek and Benque Viejo were cut off from the rest of the country during the annual rainy season floods. Before they dammed the Macal River, floods were a more common occurrence, and at least once a year the only connection between Belize and three-quarters of the Cayo District was threatened by the Belize River backing up into Roaring Creek.

Almost everyone knew that something had to be done to improve the situation, and I remember my uncle, JV Hyde, telling me that the talk from the engineers was that when they built a new bridge it would be some distance south of the old bridge. My uncle told me that he hoped the engineers at the MoW talked with the old folk in Roaring Creek before they decided where to put it. There’s a thing called “experience” that is worth more than gold.

The new, fine bridge that was just put up is the third bridge I know of in that area. The first bridge was decommissioned long years ago, and the bridge which was recently abandoned for the fine, new one, went under water on rare occasions. Far more often, access was cut off by the approaches, mostly from the west approach, but sometimes from the east side too.

“Experience” hell, the new, fine bridge built out of the Petro Caribe or BNE tax money, or some loan, was placed right alongside the one we’ve been using these long years, just a few feet away. Pastor Louis Wade said a lady in Roaring Creek said that if the Ministry of Works (MoW) had asked she would have told them that the approach to the bridge would go under water. I think if you asked anyone west of Roaring Creek what they thought when the fine bridge was going up, they would have said, “great”, and then ask what the MoW planned to do with the approach, particularly on the west side.

I heard one of the experts who formed part of the panel at PM Barrow’s press conference on Saturday, brag about the height to which the George Price Highway between Roaring Creek and Santa Elena was raised, and that there were no flood problems on the new bridge. Sin duda the new bridge is much better than the one it replaced, and everyone knows that it stood tall in the flood, but bah, only those who owned Bedford trucks or Range Rovers could reach it.

I’ve asked before, why the fine bridge wasn’t set up several hundred yards to the south of the old one. I believe that pettiness and selfishness/greed guide many decisions in our country, and it is my suspicion that someday we will learn something about this bridge that will make us very, very angry, because we are not so financially well off that we can accept less than the maximum return from the decisions we make.

I remain surprised about the decision to spend a small fortune raising the George Price Highway between Roaring Creek and Santa Elena, when we could have gotten two good roads for the price of one.

You have to go to school to know how to build a bridge to span Roaring Creek, but everyone knows it’s basic to drain land on high ground. There were a few hot spots on the George Price Highway that had to be addressed, areas where dry creeks passed, but deepening the drains on high land is oftentimes as effective as piling stuff and raising it. The stuff from the deepened drains on the sides of the highway could have been used as filling for the next road.

There was no need for us to invest so much money to cut down the hill at the S-curve. That next road should have split off at Warrie Head (between Teakettle and Ontario villages) and it should have continued along the feeder road to the south of the S-curve, and continued along until it was directed to the area on the south side of Roaring Creek Village, which our research showed was the best place for the bridge to go.

We could have had two well-surfaced roads instead of one, if the new, fine bridge had been placed in an area that wasn’t a basin that is filled up whenever there is a flood. A new road would have eased the traffic pressure on the George Price Highway, and it would have opened up some areas of the country to increased business too.

Someday someone will have to explain the decision to put the new bridge right beside the old one. If Eta had struck Belize, maybe that new, fine bridge would have gone under water, but in the recent flood it stood tall, but we couldn’t reach it.

What Gavi says

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which lists some of its core partners as the WHO, UNICEF, the World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, recently published information on the ten things the world has learned about COVID-19 in the last several months.

Now, I have said it before, but for those who didn’t get the sense let me say it again: we can play our suspicion games, but we have to trust the WHO and UNICEF, because if it wasn’t for them the world population would be less than half what it is now.

In 1950 the world’s population was 2.5 billion, and today, 70 years later, the world’s population is approaching 8 billion. It is the science and the diligence that weakened the grip of tuberculosis, that as good as wiped out malaria in Belize, and that holds yellow fever and other debilitating diseases at bay.

Gavi, in its “10 things we have learned about COVID-19” says: (1) the young and healthy are not invulnerable, (2) we shouldn’t panic about contaminated surfaces, (3) the virus can be airborne, (4) people can be infected more than once, (5) heat and humidity don’t protect against the virus, (6) children can spread the virus, (7) super-spreaders are a major threat, (8) people can develop “long Covid”, (9) people of color are at higher risk in some countries, and (10) fake news and misinformation can be dangerous.

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