Taking care of scarce resources


Friday, March 22, 2019

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ANOTHER bangarang has sprung up over the past few days. The rumbling started on Monday with the Opposition giving word that they had their eyes on the Education Ministry and they unleashed the dreaded “C” word — corruption. By Wednesday things had gathered full steam. The Main Teacher was called in to see the Big Boss, and not long after it was announced that the Teacher was going on early holidays, stepping aside from his duties to clear the way for investigations to run their course.

A friend of mine was riled up by the news. He said what bothered him the most was there are so many areas of the education system where funds are desperately needed. For him, the possibility of students not getting opportunities because of the possible misdirection of finances was too much to bear.

While we wait to get the details on the allegations and wait for the outcome, it made me stop to think about how we use what we have. Over the years different administrations have been accused of spending our tax dollars on things we may not have thought were of value. Some say those who complain suffer from lack of vision, while others point out that if we knew then what we know now, we would have gone a different route.

Take the example of the National Stadium. When it was first proposed, there were arguments about whether it was worth the money. That there were so many other pressing matters that needed attention. Now, decades later, especially during Champs season, we argue whether the stadium is adequate for our needs. The big concert of last weekend showed the stadium filled with patrons from home and abroad enjoying themselves and giving a boost to the economy.

On the other side of that argument is the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Sports complex. After a handful of events and discussions on changing its use it still has not been used to its full potential. We must also look at the maintenance of these spaces. Do we wait until they fall into ruin or do we do the best we can to keep them up and running?

I still wait for the Ward Theatre to rise again. Every time I go past and the once-proud building, which was the site of many wonderful performances by local and international stars, I feel a pain in my chest.

Another concern is how we handle our natural resources while we push for more development. Kingston, in particular, is ballooning. More and more buildings are being squeezed into the Corporate Area, packing more and more citizens into the space. The infamous road projects were intended to ease the traffic and congestion in the city, and we are counting down the days until they are completed and hope that they will bring the expected results.

In my neck of the woods, we've been spared the discomfort of roadworks, but we have our problems with water. As the neighbouring communities continue to grow, the water supply shrinks. The rivers in the Hope River watershed area are getting smaller and running lower. What plans are we really making to keep up with our growth? Do we have a vision for how we will move forward? What will the future hold for us?

Just as we should have a 'development' plan, perhaps we should be asking for an updated conservation plan that looks at areas which need to be left in their natural state. A wise friend once remarked that “God not making any more land, so we need to figure out how we make the best use of what we have.”

Barbara Gloudon is a journalist, playwright and commentator. Send comments to the Observer or

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