Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 8th 2015 Contents A23
Saturday, August 8, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
LONG CIRCULAR MALL
Some years ago I decided to
change the sort of column I
Initially, it was a pressure valve
for my incurable frustrations over
the rampant idiocy, corruption
and apathy infecting our society.
It was important to expose the
innate failings of governance.
I eventually came to appreciate
the futility of this sort of writing.
The minority who found favour
with my weekly purges were
already like-minded citizens.
I decided to change tack, con-
centrating on solutions for our
problems. My ruminations now
hinge on strategies to change our
circumstances; strengthening our
tourism product, germinating a
viable agri-sector, citizen
activism and all this.
This week I was sharply
reminded that I am simply a
voice in the wilderness; this col-
umn is wasted on sterile ground.
With a few days of truly spec-
tacular weather, the timing was
great to show some foreign
guests what this country has to
A leisurely drive up into the
Northern Range along the
Arima/Blanchisseuse road under
an extraordinarily azure sky
began a promising day.
The Asa Wright Nature Centre
never disappoints. The nature
tour started promptly as adver-
tised and was led by a courteous,
knowledgeable tour guide.
Afterwards, we continued our
day-trip along the mountain
road, meaning to push on
through to the North Coast road.
The long drive over pock-
marked terrain began to take a
toll on my passengers bladders.
With no acceptable restroom
facilities anywhere nearby and,
my lack of foresight in providing
pampers for the arduous road
trip, it was a rush and a push for
"Well at leas Jep didn tackle
yuh undercarriage in de tall
grass!"...was how I planned to
make light of the situation but I
just opted for silent shame.
For all the villages we passed
through along this coastal route,
which attracts tens of thousands
of visitors each year, that suitable
bathroom facilities should be at a
premium is a sad indictment on
us all. On the second day, I took
my visitors to the east coast,
specifically Manzanilla and
Mayaro. We stopped off at the
Manzanilla Beach Facility with its
newly built sea wall.
Ah, my country s reputation
might yet redeem itself! The
construction has immeasurably
improved the facility, staving off
coastal erosion and creating a
wonderful venue for recreation.
My guests took pictures,
stepped down onto the flat beach
sand and soaked in the therapeu-
tic salt air.
Just before we saddled up
again, I thought it prudent to
advise a visit the loo.
Well at 11.30 in the morning
the bathroom at the Manzanilla
Beach Facility was locked.
While I understand that it was
only officially opened to the pub-
lic yesterday, that is cold comfort
considering it is the only such
amenity available for miles.
We continued along the coast,
eventually making our way into
Mayaro where I got my charges
salivating over the prospect of
local cuisine at a respectable
establishment. When we got
there, not surprisingly, it was
I had to drive half an hour
back to Manzanilla to procure a
counterfeit shark and bake at a
roadside bar with more flies than
What can you do? But the pre-
vailing ignominy was about to
deliver its final flourish!
Given that one individual in
our party is an avid photogra-
pher, I thought I would round
out the day at Orange Valley on
the west coast.
When we got there I was hor-
rified to see that the area, a
feeding ground for thousands of
birds, had reverted to "unofficial
garbage dump" status.
Some years ago I d done a
video and written about the
tremendous eco-tourism potential
of this site.
The one drawback; it is
favoured as a dump site for
Villagers got together shortly
after the video appeared on Face-
book and conducted an extensive
clean-up of the Orange Valley
jetty and mangroves.
The then Minister of Tourism
and a phalanx of opportunists
subsequently toured the location,
trumpeting the eco-potential of
this wildlife haven.
They preened for the cameras,
talking of plans to harness this
To date, nothing has been done
and Orange Valley is back to its
old, stink self.
My two-day exploration of
some of the most valued tourist
destinations in this country was
a depressing confirmation of the
apparent inability of this country
to do any better.
Carnival and the Maracas
Beach Facility attract the lion s
share of attention even though
neither is as internationally
renowned as we like to believe.
Local tour guides, intimately
aware of the vast opportunities
to be had in locations like the
Nariva Swamp, Kernaham Village
and Icacos, among many others,
persevere despite the absence of
basic industry infrastructure.
No toilets, no bank machines,
no linx, no food, no clue.
We remain underdeveloped
even though we ve been awash
with resources to excel at almost
This is principally because our
minds and our thoughts are
Our myopia is reflected all
That we cling tenaciously to
our ignorance makes me question
why I bother to continue with
this column at all.
AN UNDERDEVELOPED STATE ON MIND
The long drive over
began to take a toll on
bladders. With no
nearby and, my lack of
foresight in providing
pampers for the arduous
road trip, it was a rush
and a push for the bush.
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