A recent Guardian Media in-depth report, Pothole Paradise, exposed what many in this already country knew—some of our roads are riddled with potholes and in deplorable conditions.
The report showed the extent of the pothole problem on roads across the length of breadth of this country.
Over the years there have been many protests by citizens in rural and urban areas alike, pleading with the authorities to repair damaged access roads.
Residents have detailed how pothole covered roadways affected their lives – damaging vehicles, impeding health care and assistance in emergencies, making commuting tough, garbage collection difficult and at times leaving them virtually cut off from the rest of the country.
Late last year, the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) was forced to suspend its bus service to Mayaro and Guayaguayare because they could no longer traverse the road at Robert Village, Tableland, which had deteriorated from a few potholes to being on the verge of collapse.
Despite incidents like these and countless protests, T&T continues to be plagued by potholes and dilapidated road conditions.
Efforts by residents to have roads quickly fixed have often been made into political footballs, with regional corporation representatives and Ministry of Works officials tossing the ball of responsibility into the other’s court, often at the expense of the well-being of the men, women and children affected by the condition of roads.
For them, it does not matter under whose purview it falls or whether the pothole was caused by heavy rains or a pipe-laying exercise by the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA—all that matters to these citizens is that they get a proper roadway.
The Programme for Upgrading Roads Efficiency Unit (PURE), which falls under the Ministry of Works, began as a short to medium-term programme to tackles the roads that are most in need of upgrades.
While the unit has evolved over the years and now oversees the country’s road strategy, its original mandate to rehabilitate roadways should not be ignored and given the many complaints coming all over the country. Indeed, much more attention should be paid to that aspect of the PURE portfolio.
Word that Guardian Media’s special report on the state of the nation’s roadways prompted action from State officials is welcomed news. It is hoped that this finally puts an end to what has been in many cases the years of complaints and poor road conditions.
It is regrettable that in 2021, state agencies and ministries must be shamed into action and that media coverage is a necessity for things to change.
A developing nation, one that should be on the road to developed status, must ensure that its population has access to basic amenities and a well maintained, efficient road network system should be surely high on that list.