An open letter to the Minister of Transport
Dear Mr Lashley,
What has gone wrong with our once energetic “Mr Fix It” Minister Michael Lashley?
Not only have you developed a bad reputation of late for not returning our calls, but we are in awe of the number of outstanding issues which have been allowed to simply fester under your watch.
Could it be that Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has sapped you of your energy by moving you from the Ministry of Housing –– where you had developed the admirable reputation for getting things done and for churning out housing projects by the day –– to the Ministry of Transport and Works, where it seems you have literally fallen asleep at the wheel?
If this is the case, we would have to say sorry to Mr Denis Kellman, as we demand an immediate reordering within Cabinet, strictly out of concern for the welfare of thousands who have been placed in your hands and who can now collectively be heard saying that you simply have not lived up to your ministerial billing.
From the problem-plagued Fairchild Street Bus Terminal to White Hill in St Andrew, the cry has been the same: poor implementation or no implementation at all, if we take either the much touted Tasi project or the now life-threatening White Hill situation into consideration.
In the later case, better must be done on the part of our Government. It is simply not enough for a minister to heap blame on residents for failure to move when told by the authorities to do so.
Minister Lashley, as a lawyer of some note, certainly you must be aware of a recent disaster known as Arch Cot for which millions are already outstanding in liabilities to be paid by this Government, which was deemed negligent in its handing of that case.
With things as they now are with the economy, we simply cannot afford another big and senseless payout. But money apart, the Freundel Stuart administration –– represented by you as the direct Cabinet custodian –– is
duty-bound to ensure we do not have another human disaster on our hands, especially since we have had more than our fair share of warnings about White Hill, which is nothing short of a disaster waiting to happen.
Therefore, all of the palavering about the history of cart roads and what we already know about the clay soils that lie beneath the Scotland District will not do; neither will the ordered geotechnical studies.
We believe that White Hill has now reached the stage where it should be declared a disaster area. So before Government seeks to transfer out the millions that are currently sitting in our dormant national Catastrophe Fund, it may want, with your urging, Mr Minister, to consider leaving some moneys in to immediately attend to the despairing situation in St Andrew where residents are now forced to live at the very edge.
But don’t get us wrong. White Hill is not the only evidence there is of a comatosed Minister of Transport.
For months we complained to you directly about a boat propped up precariously beside the road outside Coral Ridge Cemetery, without anything being done.
We also highlighted the broken-down, rusting vehicle at Bath Beach in St John, but to no avail.
And, just last week, a clearly frustrated Glen Castagne wrote again to say he had given up hope that it would ever be removed, never mind the danger posed to sea goers and, in particular, children who are often seen playing in the area.
“The wreck is still at the Bath lookout presenting a sorry rusting spectacle for all to appreciate as they drive down the hill to Bath Beach. I now have to concede defeat, having tried so many avenues to have it removed; maybe others will manage better!” said a clearly frustrated Mr Castagne, after he had sent over 20 emails, including to the BTMI’s head William Griffith and parliamentary representative for St John Mara Thompson –– to no avail.
Today, we again crave your attention, not only on this matter, but the problems of broken-down equipment affecting renewals at the Licensing Authority; the promised bus service for residents of St Joseph that has still not come; the outstanding deliverables in terms of the crackdown on fake licence plates, and so on.
Needless to say, we do not want the same unflattering things which Mr Ian Gooding Edghill had to say last week about the Transport Board being in a state of disrepair to be said of your entire ministry.
It would be for us a total shame, based on your previous track record.