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Written by Jamil Matar   
Thursday, 13 March 2014 00:00

Sunday past I went to the agricultural fair in Chan Pine Ridge here in the Orange Walk District, an event which I have not attended for several years now. It was truly sad to see how much it has shrunk from the glory days when the jingle rang that “Ninth a March da Chan Pine Ridge Day!” I mean, in the old days there were all sorts of livestock, drinks, food, games, shows, dancing and exciting horse racing.

Those days the grounds would be so packed that there was little room to move around and it was considered to be one of the next best to the National Agricultural Show. Something has to be done to bring back this event to prominence; it should not be allowed to just fade away.

Anyway, I stayed for a few hours at the fair, and during that time met up with Fortunato Noble, brother to the editor of the Guardian newspaper. We began chatting and he asked me what my topic would

But I informed my friend that these days anytime I run out of topics, there is always Bernard to fall back on, since he is always prattling in front of a mike and will undoubtedly say something that can be elaborated on, if you know what I mean. A case in point is the headlines of last week where the Guardian showcased the financial report posted by the OWTC on their website.

I can assure you that many people did not know what was going on upstairs of the Town Hall here in OW. I have been advising you for some time now that there is the opinion that this Council is too bureaucratic and there is too little emphasis being placed on infrastructure. But I guess many of you thought I was just being political.

Well, from their own audited statements we can all see that of the $3 million or so in revenues last year, the Council merely allocated some $50,000 to streets and drains. As is my wont, I will share information based on past experience.

During the period before Prime Minister Barrow passed on the traffic revenues to all Municipalities, the total revenues to the OWTC were, in a good year, $1.4 million. With this we had to cover all salaries, pensions, maintenance of parks, markets, cemeteries, playgrounds, streets, drains, equipment, charitable contributions, utilities, office supplies and service debts contracted by the previous PUP Council.

It goes without saying that it was a rough time, but we managed. We were surely criticized at every turn by the PUP media, but for the most part people recognized that we were trying to do the best with the limited resources. What I can assure you of is that we did not go on TV at every instance begging the government for money or lamenting to our fellow Orangewalkeños about everything under the sun. We carried our cross in silence.
This crowd now has it so good. They inherited a bulk of heavy duty equipment from the previous UDP Council and revenues have more than doubled to almost $3 million. And yet they can’t address the pressing concern with our streets and drains.

The Mayor did a little concreting of about 200 feet of streets recently and posted on Facebook the phrase “slowly but surely”. At this pace (two years gone already) it will need a hundred years to fix OW.

There is an abbreviation that you will hear on the streets in town describing people who talk much more than they work, and it is called “WOT”, which stands for “waste of time”. Let him whom the cap fits…