Monday, November 21, 2011

FLOODING (or, if it ain't my responsibility it ain't my fault)!

Have you ever noticed that when anything goes wrong in good old T&T that Nobody is to blame. Poor old Nobody! He gets in trouble all the time! But then it's always his fault! When you ask 'who did this?' or 'who is responsible?' you always get the answer 'Nobody'. As a result, nothing ever gets fixed. Nothing ever gets changed. And Nobody gets fired!

I know. I am being ridiculous. But, unfortunately, I am also being deadly accurate. Nobody ever gets blamed or punished for anything! It is never anybody's responsibility to make certain, for example, that applications for planning approvals for development include plans for proper drainage. It is never anybody's responsibility to deal with unapproved and unauthorised development ... even when this unauthorised development causes drainage (read "flooding") problems.

Patrick Manning used to boast about his Vision 20/20 plans. But in the seven year period in which he boasted and promoted it never once did I ever read of bench marks that would be able to tell us whether or not the implementation of this vision was on track. Even more importantly, nowhere did I ever read that people were going to be made responsible for things ... especially when they went wrong!

The flooding in Port of Spain and its western environs that took place after very heavy showers, that lasted only for about one hour, on Saturday has caused terrible damage and a great deal of unnecessary suffering that ought to have been avoidable. But when you ask whose fault it was you get answers like "developers" or "clogged drains" or some other vague reply. Who are these developers? What are their names? What developments? Who were the engineers? Who were the builders? Were things done according to approved plans? If so, who approved the plans? If the plans were not approved, then why didn't the relevant authority stop the development and do something about it? Bottom line: Who is responsible? And the answer? (Sound the trumpets) Nobody!

I am reluctantly coming to the very sad conclusion that we are all insane ... mad ... crazy! For we continue to do the same things over and over again and continue to expect a different result. Take the Office of Disaster and Preparedness Management (ODPM) for example. What exactly is its function? To hand out matteresses? If it is supposed to help prevent disasters then what exactly is it doing to prevent them? What? What steps has it taken to mitigate or prevent disasters? But what have we done to make this office function the way that it should? Where is the media in all this? Why doesn't the media ask for the names of those responsible and publicise them? Why? But Nobody has been fired from the ODPM for not doing his job!

And we continue to accept mediocrity. When somebody complains he/she is usually met with 'well, this is Trinidad!' as if that is a good reason (not even an excuse) to put up with the particular incompetence or inefficiency. We continue to allow ourselves to be sidetracked over stupid and unimportant issues (the PNM's present raging debate over whether or not their MP's should wear a balisier tie is a classic example of our collective stupidity on focusing on things that are unimportant) and do not tackle head on the things that are important and affect our lives, and most importantly, solve them!

But then Nobody is to blame for anything and everything. And the problem is that we can't fix it because it's Nobody's responsibility. Nobody will fix it ... we don't have to! But my guess is that Nobody is gonna fix things anytime soon. Why should he? We can't fire Nobody. He's got a job for life!


  1. And Nobody is a caring person, yes, Nobody cares.

  2. I am appalled by what has happened and the lack of accountability although not at all surprised.

    The blame lies squarely on the shoulders of people who don't give a damn about the environment. The people who cut down the rain forests, developers who dig into the sides of mountains to build mansions and people who dump their fridges, stoves, mattresses and all their nasty garbage into the river beds during the dry season together with past governments who chose to turn a blind eye and allowed it to happen.

    We like it so, yes?