If there were any doubts about the fragility of our sojourn on this “Mosquito Coast” — as it was called by the Spanish, who passed it up — it should’ve been dispelled after what happened last Holi on the WCD. Who would’ve thought that waves could be hurled one hundred feet into the air after hitting our sea wall? Can we imagine the energy the wall had to withstand in the tons of water hurled onto it with such force and ferocity?
The floods of 2005, which were concentrated on the ECD, was caused by over-topping of the “back dam” that holds back the conservancy when the rains just wouldn’t stop. This time it was the angry Atlantic which appeared determined to seize the land the Dutch had empoldered from her.
Interestingly, it was Foreign Affairs Minister Greenidge – standing in for the Prime Minister – who visited the area, rather than the Public Infrastructure Minister. And he answered the question posed by an editorial of this newspaper – was the Government going to listen to Mother Nature and start planning to move to higher ground? And his answer was redolent of the do-nothing syndrome of which the entire PNC-led Government is seized: there will be no such movement!!
It would seem that Greenidge wants to emulate King Canute of England, who’d ruled for so long that he believed he could command even the elements.
As the story is told, “when Canute was at the height of his ascendancy, he ordered his chair to be placed on the sea-shore as the tide was coming in. Then he said to the rising tide, “You are subject to me, as the land on which I am sitting is mine, and no one has resisted my overlordship with impunity. I command you, therefore, not to rise on to my land, nor to presume to wet the clothing or limbs of your master.” But the sea came up as usual, and disrespectfully drenched the king’s feet and shins”!!
It didn’t seem as though Greenidge had gone as close to the raging Atlantic as to get his feet wet, and maybe this explains why he could be so blasé about the threat from the oceans. Or maybe he was so focused on playing politics and ignoring the local NDC that he didn’t want to suggest there were things his Government couldn’t do by itself! But it would do him well to remember how King Canute’s story ended:
Jumping back, the king cried, “Let all the world know that the power of kings is empty and worthless, and there’s no king worthy of the name save Him by whose will heaven, earth and sea obey eternal laws.”
The people will speak in 2020!
…the people’s role
The sad thing is that no one expected Greenidge to lift up Georgetown and the coastal settlements and fly them into the interior – like those dramatic pictures of the Hindu Deity Hanuman doing something like that. God forbid!! But, like the PPP government in 2005, he could’ve used the power of government to regulate the activities of residents on the coast as well as hastening the construction of the highway to Lethem – after which folks will spontaneously move away from the Atlantic’s threat.
An option isn’t an option if it isn’t an EXERCISABLE option!! And without a highway to Brazil, it isn’t an option for Coastlanders to move south. Greenidge could’ve also worked with the local NDCs to facilitate homeowners to raise their habitable living spaces at least four feet off the ground – as was mandated after 2005. And he could have assisted the NDCs to step into the shoes of the SILWFC and clear local drains.
But then, the rural flooded areas aren’t Georgetown, and NDCs aren’t the Mayor and City Council, are they?
…the daily grind of the Diva
Can you imagine the recently departed diva Sri Devi made 300 movies in 29 years – from the age of 4 to 33, when she “retired”!
That’s more than 10 movies per year!! Glamour or grind??