NOTE-WORTHY - Watch the money
While much needed focus is being placed on the Golding administration's attempt to squeeze every dollar out of law-abiding citizens, we must not lose sight of the continued mismanagement of these funds. Stories like the report by Gary Spaulding headlined 'Water ministry to get NHT loan next week' must not be allowed to escape under the radar.
How is it that there is no cry about the legal manoeuvring being conducted to empower the NHT to make a loan of this nature? Who is going to monitor the use of this $477 million loan of which $279 million is to be "channelled into the coffers of the National Water Commission (NWC)". Only recently, I observed the NWC patching an area no larger than 6ft by 10ft - it took a truckload of no fewer than eight persons over a period of two separate days to complete this job.
The only thing more petrifying about the fact that it is this same mismanaged agency that will be allowed to fritter away hard-working taxpayer dollars, that should rightly be used for loans for housing, is that $195.1 million of these loan funds will be "turned over" to the Ministry of Local Government.
We can only hope and pray that the drought abates, for one does not have to be a soothsayer to know that for every dollar of these funds that is indeed used for "drought mitigation" some will in all probability end up in the pockets of some undeserving contractor.
My heart goes out to the family of young Jaman Morris. According to the report in The Gleaner, the youngster was hit off his bicycle by a minibus just days short of his 13th birthday, which incidentally should have fallen on New Year's Day.
Is it therefore inappropriate for me to appeal to motorists to start the new year with the resolve to show a little respect to other road users, especially cyclists and pedestrians? For it seems to me that some motorists often approach pedestrians and cyclists as if they are gladiators in the arena and they get a certain amount of sadistic pleasure in seeing how closely they can get without actually hitting them. Unfortunately however, they often miscalculate and guess who becomes another statistic? Just recently, I had such a close shave with a JUTC bus and it was not the first time.
I wonder what it would take to bring motorists to the realisation that they have no special God-given right to the roads to the exclusion of all others?