READERS will be forgiven if the announcement by Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis of major road projects last night sounds familiar.
Let’s flash back to another Hubert, another road project – when then Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham launched the New Providence Road Improvement Project.
It was a classic moment of loosening the purse strings before an election. After all, as voters drove on smooth roads to cast their ballot, who wouldn’t be impressed by the improvements to the infrastructure?
Last night’s announcement has that same air of counting down to an election and letting the pendulum swing from taxation to spending.
Not only the road project that is planned, but also the $8m lined up for Ragged Island as it continues to recover from hurricane damage.
The much-promised solar power generation facility is part of plans for Ragged Island – though we feel the request for proposals due to be published “soon” with the goal of the facility’s completion by the end of the year is a trifle optimistic. Given how long it’s taking to move the post office in New Providence, we imagine that date might slip a little.
The island will get a school costing $2m, a clinic costing $2.5m, an administrator’s office, post office and court room costing $2.5m and a police station costing $1m.
Ragged Island was hard hit by the hurricane and needs the investment – though we’ll note the furore raised by the FNM government over PLP plans for clinics in Cat Island, which cost $2.3m for Old Bight, $2.1m for Orange Creek, and $6.6m for Smith’s Bay.
We would suggest full transparency over the construction costs in Ragged Island – and an explanation of why $2.5m is good value for Ragged Island but $2.3m for Old Bight is not.
Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands previously explained the three Cat Island clinics would benefit just six patients a day – how many will the Ragged Island clinic benefit? Answers please – to reassure the public it is money well spent.
The FNM government also would do well to learn its lesson from the bungled execution of the previous road project. It became a bone of contention – protests from businesses whose customers couldn’t find a place to park, even sometimes struggling to get into the road itself; spiralling costs that led to extra borrowing; and a feeling of resentment that gave fuel to the PLP at the ballot box rather than the FNM.
We look forward to those smooth roads from fresh spending, but the FNM had best avoid the mistakes of the past.
We need the truth – and soon
Let them have their say in court!
That was the cry yesterday from Acting Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle with regard to the officers involved in Friday’s triple shooting.
Presumably, he means a coroner’s court – which will be the first place the case will go to determine the cause of death. The coroner’s court is, however, famously slow. For example, one case last year in an officer-involved shooting took five years for the coroner’s court to reach a verdict of unlawful killing.
Justice delayed, of course, is justice denied, and we hope answers will take less than half a decade to be provided.
We also hope the officers involved in the shooting are taken off the front line temporarily – for their own sake. Officers who have shot and killed a civilian – even if in the right – should be given counselling and time to be interviewed by investigators rather than going straight back out into the field.
On Friday, there was little mention of another side of the story or an investigation under way by police. To hear the press statement, it seemed an open and shut case. That other side of the story has emerged and, with it, questions.
Goodness knows, it’s as clear a sign as any that the promised bodycams for police officers should be issued already, and no more time should be wasted waiting for them.
“I thought my daddy would be around until I was 18,” said one young boy in the house when police entered – who went on to say he did not trust police.
For his sake – for all our sakes – we need to know the truth.