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Hand rails along Rock Gutter please


Before ah forget ley me first thank Vincent-shun born, Carl Darwin Cupid, ah B Eng, MSAE, R. Eng. (T&T), and an Accident Reconstruction Specialist, foh his timely contribution in Searchlight’s Midweek Paper on Tuesday.

Darwin was here back in 2001 when he had his Mini Van baptism while travelling up to Georgetown. As ah road engineer he realized dat our roads ain’t build foh speeding, so he dared to challenge de Van Driver and tell him he was driving dangerously.{{more}} We all know what de driver would tell him, and he did: “ Boss, if yuh doh like de way ah driving, yoh could walk if yo want!

So Darwin did what every passenger should do when de Van Driver is speeding recklessly, he stopped de vehicle and got off. However before he disembarked, he was straightened out by a middle-age, female passenger who told him point blank dat: “we like de fast driving, and I don’t like travel in no vehicle dah does drive slow!”. Darwin probably still holding on to his Vincy accent, because if dey had recognized ah Trinny accent, dey would ah really fix him good and proper, and tell him way he nah go back ah Chindad way he come from.

Dat frightening experience probably haunted Darwin foh months, and in May 2001, ah few months after his visit here, from his adopted homeland T’n’T, he put pen to paper in an article published in de Searchlight, airing his concerns giving ah professional perspective as well. Ah remember dat letter and to be honest, ah simply dismissed it as ‘another vice in de wilderness’.

Now dat de dust at Rock Gutter is slowly settling, Darwin is back in de Searchlight dis week. Dis time he is reminding readers of his 2001 Mini Van experience, his serious concerns and fear in his letter of 2001. In short Darwin is saying “Ah did tell all yo so!” Again he is offering professional add-vice, and just in case Darwin’s letter slipped de Commissioner of Police ah will go over ah few points he made:

“Passenger Vans must not be licensed or allowed to carry more passengers dan de manufactures stipulate. He alluded to 13- seaters lie-sin to carry 18 passengers. Using temporary stools foh seats along de aisle, and folding seats at de side is ah No! No! These temporary seats become projectiles in de event of sudden brakes or collision. Ah seat should be allocated to de conductor, so dat he will not be jamming up by de door or sticking his behind in passengers face.

Dat low fares, could be ah possible reason why drivers have to hustle, especially during peak hours. Dis could require increasing de fares, especially if vehicles will no longer be commuting wid more passengers dan de manufacturers’ stipulated capacity. De State, de Tourist Association and de Media have important roles. Educating drivers, conductors, passengers and other citizens via de various Media to correct de negative, cultural attitudes relating to de behavior of Van Drivers, Conductors and other Passengers. Certification programs for Drivers and Conductors in methods where public transportation system is concerned, would inspire visitors to sell de country as a tourist destination. And finally Darwin in his theory stated dat de packing of passengers is not only unsafe, as has happened in de Rock Gutter tragedy, it is also a health hazard to passengers.”

I wish to endorse everything dat Darwin has outlined. And since Go-venom-men’t is now committed to correcting de social and hysterical wrongs dat foh decades, were meted out to de folks of Fancy. Ole people uses to say: “yuh will dead fuss before dat ever happen!” How nice Fancy Folks getting ah new air-conditioned, 30 seater school bus; ah new cemetery after ten years of patiently begging. Colour televisions, University scholarships and heaven knows what’s next. But de great gift will be an immediate attempt to deal wid de real problem, putting “half-decent rails” along de roads next to de cliffs and precipitous corners. Think ah de number ah times dem rails along Casson Hill prevented speeding vehicles from killing people below. Last week we felt ah pain dat no one can explain foh our loved ones at Fancy. Dis week let us share de anxiety dat those parents have to deal wid daily, restarting dey lives, beginning wid de thought of having to put dem children on Vans or School Buses again, knowing dat Rock Gutter is not any safer, still unprotected! Lie-Za asking de Mr. Pry Minister to build ah solid hand rail or wall along de side ah dat road immediately, if he ain’t have de money, she suggests he sends dem big salary Animal Farm Pit Bulls he got pon Radio, and Sir Vin-Sin pon indefinite No-Pay Leave!

And secondly, Darwin Cupid’s letter is timely, 14 years ago, his experience travelling on ah speeding Van, told him dat accidents were about to happen. He is again offering suggesting foh better road safety. SOME Van drivers and owners will not take kindly to what he says, but we have ah serious problem here, “speed and noise: wid SOME ah dem Vans transporting our school children in particular. Ah believe de Regulations are already in place, so all dat is now necessary is strict application of de rules. Lightening does strike twice, not necessarily in de same place. And wid dat is gone ah gone again.

One Love Bassy

Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.