Solutions Barbados’ Grenville Phillips II.
Adopt higher standards
A CALL is being made for government to implement better standards when fixing the highways and byways of Barbados.
It comes from Structural Engineer, Grenville Phillips II, who gave government a failing grade in its attempt to patch potholes, citing the road to Brighton in St George as a recent example.
According to Phillips, “It was foreseen that the high-quality asphalt, and the effort to install it, would be wasted. After the recent heavy rains, the asphalt washed away, the potholes became larger, and we simply resumed the daily game of ‘dodge-the-pothole’.”
Saying that engineers normally use words like sub-standard, and poor workmanship, to describe work badly done, he contends that what is being seen is in the realm of “insanely bad work”, which Barbadians have come to accept as normal.
“An accurate example of how we do things in Barbados, is of a baker that mixes quality materials to make bread. However, he does not know the final step of putting the mixture in the oven, and sells this unbaked product to the public, who accept it as normal.”
He charged that some pragmatic approaches to problem-solving have been deemed to be “fanciful ideas”.
“Why is it fanciful to ask that asphalt be compacted, rather than installed loose to wash away and result in expensive repairs to vehicles? Why is it fanciful to ask that fruit trees be planted, rather than these non-fruit trees that become habitats for monkeys and termites, the two animals that cause the most harm to Barbadian households?”
“Why is it fanciful to ask that the foundations of trees be prepared, rather than install them shallow, so that the trees will blow down during a hurricane? Why is it fanciful to offer employment to persons in poverty, so that they can pay their monthly expenses and look after their families?”
Phillips, who just unsuccessfully contested the St. George North by-election, said he has spent 25 years of his life actively lobbying various Government departments to adopt higher standards without success.
“I have also spent the past five offering to implement higher standards – also without success. How can the people of Barbados benefit from better standards? I do not know, but I am optimistic that someday, someone will find the solution,” he said.