Tue | Sep 19, 2017

Editorial: Rethink ‘bollo work’

Published:Wednesday | December 23, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Amid the sorrel blooms, whipping of fruitcake batter and screaming goats on death row, there is another standard feature of the Christmas season: communities teeming with work gangs swinging away with machetes at bush-covered sidewalks, roads and verges and shovelling up debris.

This islandwide employment programme, funded by taxpayer dollars, is a salve that masks months of governmental neglect of the cleaning of gullies, drains and the maintainance of other public infrastructure and gives brief respite to unemployed or underemployed labourers.

But in some residential areas, the Government effectively spends millions of dollars subsidising delinquent private property owners who have yielded vacant lands to overgrowth. In fact, many homeowners are also guilty of causing sidewalks and roads to be marred by unkempt lawns, overhanging trees, or heaps of garbage.

The National Solid Waste Management Authority, parish councils and municipal authorities should use every legislative tool possible to rein in landholders whose garbage or overgrowth causes public nuisance and impedes pedestrian or vehicular traffic. Fine them.

The State ought to spend its money, and deploy labour, more judiciously instead of bailing out private landholders. After all, even if we do dish out 'bollo work', it should be to the public, not private, good.