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Bandit Doesn’t Drive Four-Wheel

Friday, February 7, 2014

From where Saddle Road bends out of Maraval/Second Boissiere Village towards Haleland Park to where it bends up towards Santa Cruz, there’s a 400-metre stretch of straight road (five, if you go towards Moka golf course) and, with no live or sleeping police to slow them down—and definitely no concept of self-restraint on the part of their drivers—even lumbering old buses and trucks get up to 70mph, day or night; the BMWs, Audis and Porsche SUVs go even faster. On my first morning in Haleland Park, I considered retracing the steps of the late Prof Julian Kenny, who would walk to the village to buy his daily paper and, in poignant newspaper columns that were totally ignored by officialdom, would often contemplate the Maraval River he watched almost die in his own lifetime.


The speed of vehicles coming from both directions, though, buried that notion before its coffin could even be hefted. I turned around at Catalina Court and walked, instead, into the area Trinidadian sufferers call “Moka Raton,” after the moneyed Florida district of Boca Raton. (Using that same gift for mockery the powerless in Trinidad have raised to art, they call St Clair’s Wainwright Street, “Wall Street,” partly in recognition of what they cost, but mainly because of the very high walls around homes there.) Past the Y where the Saddle Road turns off to Santa Cruz, there are fewer vehicles at 6 am, but they all still thunder past the pedestrian: if not forced to snail pace by traffic jams, everyone in Trinidad, including expats who would never do it at home, drives as fast as they can. It makes them feel they’re getting somewhere, even if they’re still going nowhere, just faster. Where the main road narrows through the golf course, the pedestrian is forced to jump into the rough to avoid being run over: responsible parents must get their Trinity College sons to school on time.


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