It is time to stop the decay
by Steve Alvarez
What kind of people are we evolving into? On my way to San Fernando a few days ago I noticed that the squatting shanti town west of the highway before the Claxton Bay area was growing into over one hundred shanti. I imagined that within these shacks without running water, electricity, toilet facilities and proper roads and sidewalks are human beings, families with little children who must grow up in these unplanned communities.
Sometime later when a “vhaps” hit someone in government there is the possibility that bulldozers will seek to destroy the homes much to the outcry of a beleaguered Nation or politicians may use the opportunity to score political points by offering letters of comfort to the law breakers. Who is looking out for our children? Who is looking out for our Nation? When did we emerge as this selfish, heartless, narcissistic, arrogant people unmoved by the reality that we are rapidly rushing towards relegation to 4th or 5th world status?
We look at countries like Venezuela with all its oil reserves and wonder how they can be without basics services and consumables like toilet paper while we bury our heads in the sand and pretend that we are so much better. We cannot or ought not sit by and allow squatting to continue.
The Sangre Grande Regional Corporation is faced with dealing with the ever increasing number of squatters on the foothills of the Northern Range, almost every spot along the Lady Young road west is occupied and the hills of Diego Martin, Petit Valley and Blue Range are threatened by squatters who battle with legal land owners to protect their land. Squatting is a sure sign of emerging anarchy.
Our Agricultural lands that once produced sugar cane, citrus and teak are now abandoned burnt out lands daily overtaken by lawless squatters. Where are the mega farms that we were promised? Where are the bags of onions that were supposed to augment our import of foreign onions? Agriculture is today unstructured, unplanned and worst of all mismanaged. Our communities are disappearing and lawlessness is taking over. Gangs and gang leaders are rewriting the boundaries and individuals are now required to pay taxes to these leaders for their very survival. Instead pf paying property taxes towards building communities structured with efficient utilities like water distribution, sewer services, fire stations, ambulance service, sporting facilities and health centres, many communities are paying gangsters posing as community leaders for the right to exist in their community.
Trinidad & Tobago cannot continue this way. This is only allowed to continue because our citizens have lost the ability to analyse situations without first determining how it affects their political party, race or religion. We cannot continue without determining what crops are best to utilize our agricultural lands and rapidly cultivate our lands in a structured manner. We cannot continue without first planning our communities, mapping out all of our lands and ensuring that every building lot is provided with water, sewer, electricity, proper roads, sidewalks, schools, churches, recreation facilities, fire and ambulance services and maintenance services for drainage, road repairs, signage and street lighting.
It’s time to stop the decay, time to think thing through and certainly time to unite in the best interest of Trinidad & Tobago. The alternative is the destruction of civilized life and the gradual but certain descent into anarchy.
God Bless Our Nation.