Mon | Jul 16, 2018

Letter of the day | Dishonouring Garvey, Mandela

Published:Wednesday | September 7, 2016 | 12:00 AM


For the poor souls who live beyond Six Miles, the names Mandela and Marcus Garvey now trigger a high degree of stress and even terror. Motorists and other users of the Mandela Highway and Marcus Garvey Drive know the misery to which I refer. Pioneers in their time, having contributed inestimable value to humanity through thought and action, the paragons for whom these corridors were named would be astounded by the extent of the suffering we've had to bear and the mind-boggling nonsense and callous disregard that seem to abound among our elected officials.

Prior to the start of 'improvement' work along Marcus Garvey Drive in April, we endured traffic snarls caused by years of neglect and the failure to adequately plan for urban expansion. While news that the corridors would be widened was welcomed, we knew the process would be far from painless. But the depth and degree of that pain could not be estimated. Nor could we have anticipated that some very wise person would decide to start the work on the Mandela Highway before the completion of the work on Marcus Garvey Drive. Not to mention the brilliance behind the decision to start working on Mandela the weekend before the start of the new school year! It was really too great an expectation for the work to begin during the eight weeks of summer when school was out.




It's not clear who's to be lauded for the chaos and misery now besetting the motoring public doomed to use these two major thoroughfares. Do we thank the National Works Agency or the Ministry of Transport and Works? To whom do we send the 'Thank You' notes for the hours we spend idling in traffic each week, for the thousands we flush down the drain on wasted fuel, or for the added cost of toll for those who now find they no longer have a real choice? To whom do we extend gratitude for the loss of sleep we endure just to get our children to school on time or for the diminished quality of life we suffer now that we spend more time in traffic and less time with family each evening?

As painful as this is, we will continue to plod on, primarily because we must. We must be forgiven, however, for not feeling the deepest gratitude for a situation made worse by insensitive officials who care little for the plight of regular people now sucking salt through the proverbial wooden spoon.

Stacy-Ann Smith