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An idea for Mr K

Carl Moore

An idea for Mr K

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ONE REASON I’m not yet bowled over by “innovation”, the much-talked-about saviour of Barbados, catching on any time soon is that, as a people, we are too quick to douse cold water on wacky ideas – ideas that come, as the Americans say, from left field.
And we’re just as quick to write off people who fail in their first attempt.
As a result, people are afraid even to utter a thought that doesn’t meet with instant approval. That’s perhaps why there’s so much anonymity. Bloggers, we’re not going there today.
Three Barbadians who have impressed me by their lack of fear of throwing out ideas have been the late Mr Astor “The Cement Man” Marshall, Mr Mohammed Amin Nassar, and the Minister of Housing, Lands and Rural Development Mr Denis Kellman.
We labour, too, under the misconception that creativity emanates only from young people.
Six years ago, I threw out some ideas at a town meeting during islandwide discussion of the Barbados Strategic Plan 2005-2025 when it focused on Strengthening The Physical Infrastructure And Preserving The Environment.
 You may laugh at one of the ideas I offered but, I can assure you, your grandchildren will not. I received a polite hearing, with only the engineer on the panel seeing any validity in my suggestion. In fact, a Government minister threw a bucket of cold water on the idea.
I’m offering it again; this time, to Mr Kellman. I’m attracted to his rural development portfolio. It’s an interesting portfolio which should allow him to do creative things in the north of the island – things other than high-rise apartments here, there and everywhere.
I haven’t always agreed with Mr Kellman. For example, I cannot support his dream of building an airport in St Lucy. My friend, retired Air Canada Airbus A-340 Captain Iain Edghill, has already presented solid reasons why this idea won’t fly.
And I don’t buy the Kellmanesque hypothesis that a prime minister is a chief executive officer – but that’s another column.
Mr Minister of Rural Development, design and start building another city in your constituency.
Take the pressure off Bridgetown. Despite its recent UNESCO recognition as a city of heritage importance, Bridgetown is in decline. Thousands of motor vehicles crowd into that congested space every weekday in unending lines of gridlock from all directions.
At the end of the day, the procession resumes in the opposite directions. How long can this stressful confusion continue? And at what cost to health and the economy?
Offer career opportunities to the young engineers and architects coming out of university with few prospects of employment. Involve environmentalists as well as town and country planners. Exploit the possibilities of energy generated by the sun, the wind and the water.
Invite the input of our artists, too. We tend to think artists only matter for painting landscapes and writing calypsos. Sigmund Freud observed: “Every time we scientists think we have made a discovery we find some poet has been there centuries before us.”
Engineering can tame most problems. Since the north of the island is perhaps the last area for population growth, why not connect the Charles Duncan O’Neal and Ermie Bourne Highways and extend them to Grantley Adams International Airport via Six Roads in St Philip, thereby easing the congestion on Highway 1 on the West Coast, and the Ronald Mapp in the centre?
Why not link up with developer Mr Paul Altman? Remember the idea he came up with in 2009 – two islands off Barbados.
Creativity and innovation must not be held back by timid souls. Humanity lives by imagining the future. If Barbados is to make progress in the future, problem-solvers must be encouraged.
Develop the city of the future – a “green” city, a city for the 21st century. Let’s release our young thinkers on it.
If he can pull it off – or set the idea in motion – some historian might embellish Mr Kellman’s legacy with: “He saved Barbados’ capital city from asphyxiating itself.”
Any royalties that might accrue to me can be passed on to my descendants.
• Carl Moore was the first Editor of aTHE NATION and is a social commentator. Email: [email protected]