Nov 5, 2009

National Stadium Flag Bacchanal in Trinidad


Life is a stage and we are the actors – we all have ah part to play” So sang Brother Valentino in his classic kaiso. Well it seems that the present administration under the leadership of archdeacon Patos is hell bent on playing the part of the gambler who does not know when it is time to stop placing bets that simply don’t reap any rewards.
The ‘Legacy Flag’ is the topic of conversation with some Trinis already proclaiming that it is a ‘Stripper Pole’ with a Trini flag draped at the top. Now when yuh think about it this could be the aim of the designers of the pole that hold the national marker. It is smooth, we are talking about A-36 carbon steel and what pole dancer you know who would not like all that smooth silky carbon between her legs as she slithers down the pole. Just think about it, draped in the national flag she swirls around the pole as she descends to the base where that rigid shaft is cemented in a “20-foot by 20-foot by 15-foot foundation with 400 tons of reinforced concrete and 200 tons of steel”. Rigid, and secure at the base, that pole will be the delight of many pole dancers as they dance in bacchanalish frenzy to celebrate and commemorate this project that “was part of the Government’s strategic national plan, Vision 2020”.
Ok so let’s take a look at how the tax payer’s money was spent on this project: $2M.  There were three bids for the project with Fireone Fireworks winning the bid for the project for the construction, erection, design and supply systems.  The final cost of the project is as follows:
The flag itself cost $18,112.15
The foundation and installation works cost $940,000
The design and supply of the flagpole cost $932,400
Three additional flags were bought for $54,336
Size of the Flag: 60 feet by 36 feet
Ok now that you have an idea of the cost and disbursement of the funds let’s talk ah talk now. I must remind you that you can participate in the discussion by venting in the shout box (http://www.trinizagada.com/) or add a comment of your own by selecting the comment feature at the bottom of the post. First off let’s look at the Minister Hunts comments and tell me what you think.
“Hunt said the flag was created to serve as a constant reminder of the nation’s sporting heroes and was meant to inspire patriotism and national pride among the population.”
How do I respond to the statement above? Simply put my friends – 20/20 Cricket.  The just concluded 20/20 cricket tournament in India in which the national team reached the finals and captivated the nation should have been on the mind of the minister when he thought about making the statement above. For those who don’t know it took Jack Warner’s intervention to get Darren Ganga released from his work duties to participate in the tournament – a State run company too. Even worse is the fact that a chicken company in India sponsored our national team – what a crying shame and he has the audacity to talk about patriotism and national pride?
He also said, "$2 million spent on it was a worthy and life-long investment”
What are we really investing in here? How does this monument that no one will care much about except to say in Trini style, “Oh goouuud it big eh” help improve the youth of the nation?
The money would have been better spent on a program or programs that teach self esteem and or the benefits of aspiring to become a national representative of the nation or simply to provide coaching clinics in the sporting arena.
He said, "the ministry had not publicly released the cost breakdown earlier, as it was ensuring that all calculations and facts were correct. Hunt explained that the cost of the flag itself was revealed on Tuesday to disassociate that cost from the total cost of the project.”
To be honest here I simply believe they knew that the population would be upset about the cost and they tried to bury the expenditure from public knowledge. The fact remains that we need hospital beds, drains are clogged causing flooding, a consistent and reliable water supply is needed, public transportation need to be upgraded, electricity shortages are still part of life in Trinidad and many more issues that need to be addressed. To take the tax payers money and spend it because the “flag will look good at the stadium” is a waste of finance that could be put to more productive use.
When asked about the two extra flags that were bought, he responded by saying "that the ministry had future plans to add more legacy flags to other stadiums across the country to promote national pride that would last for generations.”
Here we go again with the “national pride” mantra again. This clearly shows that the present administration has an agenda to leave their mark on the society without regard to the wishes of the people and many foreign nationals who clearly state that the present administration is spending the nations finances blindly.  Expect to see more legacy flags throughout the nation.
He said despite public controversy, "in time the public would come to appreciate the efforts made to inspire the nation.”
What the minister should have said was “we intend to leave our stamp on the country, PNM here there and everywhere”. I won’t be surprised if we have balisier planted around each legacy flag structure. The arrogance of the PNM is the only legacy I see here and that will never inspire me to aspire or gravitate to supporting the endeavors of the Manning administration.
Do you think that people are pleased after learning about the cost of the flag? Well after listening to WACK radio yesterday I can safely state that the population is not happy at all. People were calling in and venting their frustration.  I guess these are the same people who constantly ask, “Who we go put”. Well take what yuh getting now!
Information sourced from the Trinidad Guardian newspaper:
http://guardian.co.tt/news/politics/2009/11/05/it-s-official-2m-flag

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