Friday, May 21, 2010

Election Primer A - Z: 'Q' is for Queen Street Fire 2005 - Promises Made and Promises Broken

On April 9, 2005, the People's Mall located on Queen & Frederick Streets in Port of Spain was completely destroyed by a fire that started as a result of a car battery explosion. The fire was said to have caused $30M in losses as 140 booths and many more dreams went up in smoke.

Within hours, the government of the day, led by Patrick Manning had made visits to the affected area and promised to rebuild (on the same site) a new modern facility, with promises for the construction to start almost immediately.

The promises made never materialised.

Five years later - the tenants of the People's (Drag) Mall have returned and a complex reminiscent of shanties from Port-au-Prince to Johannesburg has risen up from the rubble. The tenants - who ironically are traditional supporters of the ruling party drawn from the depressed neighbourhoods surrounding Port of Spain - appear to have conveniently forgotten about the promises that have been made and accordingly their needs have been leapfrogged by more important issues such as Prime Ministerial Palaces, international summits, and million dollar flags - more important in the eyes of the Government.

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