Tuesday 22nd February, 2005

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Landscape in Tobago ruined

THE North Coast Road to Maracas Bay must certainly be the most scenic drive in the Caribbean and no one in his right mind would think of widening this roadway. To do so would only ruin its grandeur. This is precisely what has occurred in our sister isle.

The gravel road from L’Anse Fourmi to Charlotteville, cut more than 50 years ago, only required paving. There was absolutely no need to widen it, except around a few corners. And this could have been judiciously engineered.

On several occasions I have walked as well as driven the entire length of this road. There was no justification for increasing its width. Only the contractor stands to gain.

The THA (it must take responsibility) has not only ruined a magnificent landscape but has wasted taxpayers’ money which could have been utilised to improve other roads.

Two come immediately to mind—the road to Canoe Bay as well as the road to Rainbow Falls. And very few people have had the privilege of visiting Starwood. The road is already cut and all that is required is an asphalt surface. (The panoramic view of Little Tobago from Starwood is awesome.)

One would have thought that after the colossal (as well as criminal) wastage of public funds on the Providence Road, the THA would have been prudent in its expenditure.

Like the fruiting mango trees that once lined Providence Road, the innumerable trees that provided a canopy for the L’Anse Fourmi- Charlotteville Road are no more. The drive is most depressing, to say the least, and the hideous scars inflicted will take a hundred years to heal.

That this could have happened in the incredibly wonderful island that is Tobago only reveals how insensitive to the beauty of nature we have all become.

It is only too obvious that the mindless destruction of the natural world is the hallmark of the Patrick Manning administration.

Ishmael Samad


Satisfaction, service linked

The frustration toward CCTT emanating from Georgia Falconer’s letter of February 18 (“Cable TV not worth paying for”) reflects the mood of so many proud T&T nationals in an environment of bullies and beasts.

Customer service has justifiably taken its rightful place in the hierarchy of organisations because without it progress will simply stagnate. Such is the power of the customer.

Unfortunately, however, it is not yet recognised that customer service and consumer satisfaction are inextricably linked. Now the challenge is to align the customer service strategy with a consumer satisfaction focus. Only then will we be able to achieve a developed people status.

Until such time, or until I can make alternative arrangements, I await patiently for Scotiabank PBOs to return calls, IBC Express to deliver with confidence, and CCTT customer service to respond.

R Marshall

Santa Cruz

The Washing really refreshing

I was waiting to see the results of the Carnival bands competition and to see how well The Washing did.

The judging to me was very disappointing.

On Carnival Tuesday, having looked at almost ten hours of people behaving like dogs fornicating in the Savannah with virtually nothing on, The Washing was a very refreshing change and was really the only real Carnival band on show.

Congratulations to the organisers of this band.

David L Martin


Positive signs for peace in Mid-East

The election of Mahmoud Abbas, the former Prime Minister of Palestine, last month as president of the Palestinian Authority represents a chance at bringing some kind of peace between Israelis and Palestinians and even expanding to other parts of the Mid-East.

Abbas’ election is the first step in the democratisation of the Palestinian people who have lived under occupation for over 50 years and with little democracy, even when they chose Yasser Arafat as their leader a decade ago.

Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met earlier this month to re-start peace negotiations for a permanent settlement of the dispute between the two peoples. If the ceasefire declared after the meeting is sustained, we could see an exchange of land and the establishment of a Palestinian state.

The two PMs met and tried to put the last four years of violence behind them; it was not coincidental that US Secretary of State Condi Rice met with the two before their meeting in Egypt to work out a truce. The US has said the late Arafat was an obstacle to peace.

With him gone and Abbas at the helm, the US wants to give Abbas a chance to build a nation. But it will be foolhardy to think that Abbas and/or Sharon will do whatever the US dictates or that a lasting peace is around the corner because the two men met under US blessings.

Nevertheless, the US and the Europeans can be the guarantors of peace in the region.

The first summit-level meeting between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders since the start of the second Intifada in September 2000 is a welcome development around the world. The Europeans lauded it and American newspapers welcomed it with front-page coverage and positive editorials.

But for progress to be made, the US and the Europeans will have to give Abbas substantial aid to pursue development and create jobs for the surplus of unemployed in Palestine. Also, Israel will have to end its incursions into Palestine to make Abbas look strong and not appear as a stooge of Israel.

Sharon has responded with a good gesture by stating that Israel will pull out of some areas under occupation and freeze settlements in Palestinian territories. In addition, he has released hundreds of prisoners and returned the bodies of dozens of militants who were killed over the years and kept in Israel.

The Israeli military has also announced that it will stop bombing the homes of militants. Israel also agreed to suspend its policy of assassinating leaders of the armed resistance group, Hamas.

Abbas himself has reached an informal agreement with Hamas, which threatened continued violence against Israelis. Although Hamas has talked tough, there is not likely to be major attacks against Israelis.

Abbas himself took the commendable step of deploying forces to prevent attacks against Israel. In turn, Israel has agreed to re-open the border to allow Palestinians to work in Israel.

In a related development, Syria has agreed to buy fruits and vegetables from Israel. Egypt’s President, Hosni Mubarak, has also promised to assist in the task of controlling militant activity.

All of these developments are positive for peace between the two hostile neighbours. But Palestinians are not likely to completely give up the armed resistance without some tangible benefits from Israel, such as concessions on land and the right of Palestinians who lived in Israel (before the 1960s war) to return.

Vishnu Bisram

Via e-mail

PX 66 bought for Texaco GM

Being somewhat of a car aficionado who has owned 79 cars to date, 20 of which were Jaguars, the picture of PX 66 in the Guardian Eye of February 14 was of some interest to me, moreso because I knew that car when it was brand new.

PX 66 was one of two Statesman De-Villes purchased by Texaco Trinidad Inc for the general manager, Lloyd Austin, to replace one of three Jaguar 420 Gs. The other DeVille, PU 9191, was purchased for the sole use of Augustus Long, chairman of the board of Texaco Inc in New York, who made occasional visits to Tri-nidad.

While still relatively new, PX 66 was involved in a head-on crash one Sunday morning while being driven on Frederick Street by Austin, who was unfamiliar with Port-of-Spain and was travelling in the wrong direction.

Damage to the front of the car was so severe and so extensive that it had to be sent back to the assembly plant (local) where extensive rebuilding of the front section was done.

The other DeVille, PU 9191, which was eventually sold as well, had started to show signs of severe rusting around the body and has in all probability been consigned to the scrap heap.

While 33 years may seem to the average person to be a very long lifespan for a car, in reality any car that is serviced, repaired and maintained with loving care can virtually last forever.

In fact, in a recent Barret-Jackson auction sale in California, USA, a 1932 Hispano Suiza roadster, which had been restored to original condition and which probably is the only surviving example of its kind, sold for US$3 million.

As a matter of interest, there are still cars on the roads of this country dating back to the 1930s and which are in good shape and cherished by their owners.

Martin Kavanagh

La Romain

How police once operated

CONSCIENCE dictates that I again return to the Police Commissioner, pertaining to his belief that we must not revert to the type of police work which was practised in the Burroughs/Stewart era.

Let me give Commissioner Paul an example of what took place in those times. The following I, with other residents of a street in the Valsayn area, experienced one Sunday afternoon.

“The Fox” and “The Elephant” were active during this time. On this particular Sunday, a police vehicle, driven very slowly, was behind a policeman on foot, in whose grasp was a man.

At each house the policeman would call out to those inside. When someone in authority appeared, he would raise the man’s chin with his baton, so that all could have a good look at him.

The policeman then informed the householders to “take a good look at this man, he is a thief.” The glamorous word “bandit” having not yet surfaced, he continued, “If ever you see him in your neighbourhood, do not wait until he breaks into your home to call us. Call us if you see him in the area. Remember, he is a thief, well known to us.”

This went on from house to house.

That, Mr Police Commissioner, is professional work. Do you have many under your baton capable of taking such an initiative?

Everard Lean






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