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Hold yuh breath, hi-tech toilets

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July 5, 2014 by Fensic

Some tings eh easy tuh follow nah. Add politics, lofty goals involvin expensive toilets an mix good. De result could stink just as much as what start de whole ting.

Mih journey tuh dat realization start wid ah newspaper headline dat tork about some kind ah commesse wid toilets dat cost over ah million dollars in Curepe.

Latrines dat expensive in Curepe, ah ask mihself.

Ah tuck newspaper under mih arm an set out. Not tuh no outhouse, but tuh find de answer tuh mih question. On de paper under mih arm was de phrases: Automated Public Toilets; Specialist Lighting Limited an Deborah Maillard.

At times ah was feelin just like ah man in tong tryin tuh find ah toilet real bad. Certainly not ah good ting tuh be doin. Especially how each place yuh stop tuh beg, yuh stomach does tink, “finally”. Next ting is you fightin tuh regain control ah yuh belly an or bladder. Lose an crapaud smoke yuh pipe. All because yuh cyar find no place dat have ah toilet yuh could use.

Eef yuh find ah public toilet, it does be so disgustin, yuh fraid tuh let de sole ah yuh shoe touch dat liquid on de grong; it mightn’t be water. Doh tork about de air. Who eh know dat aroma. Yuh does be sure yuh could taste de stinkness. Dat cyar be safe tuh put in yuh lungs. What crawl up an dead inside de person who use de toilet before yuh? Buh is not just dat larse person nah, is all who use dat nasty place before you.

Anyway, tryin tuh find where dis story start send mih way back tuh 2006 an ah interview Deborah Maillard give de Guardian. Eef ah could ah find it ah would ah go back tuh before dat, 2005 tuh be exact, cause de article mention some interview wid she den.

In dis 2006 interview Deborah sing de praises of hi-tech latrines.

Patricia Mejias was de real person doh. She was de den chairman ah de Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation, TPRC. She did see de toilets overseas an tort dat was de answer tuh man peein anyplace an de overall unsanitary nature ah public toilets in T&T. Because ah she, de TPRC was tuh be de ones tuh try out dese hi-tech water closets. Patricia was bubbly, de article say, sure it didn’t have anyting tuh stop tings from goin good.

Deborah in sales. She job was tuh create pictures in people mind about nice tings an den sell such people, like Patricia, dem nice tings. Nuttin eh rong wid none ah dat.

De interview tone suggest dat de toilets was comin soon. Ah fella name Deodath Ojar-Maharaj was part ah de interview. He was communication specialist in de Ministry of Local Government. Accordin tuh de Guardian article, he confirm dat de Minster ah Local Govahment, Rennie Dumas, approved not just one toilet, buh three, all fuh de TPRC. De udder regional corporations was goin an get dey own ones.

Jump forward tuh 2011. What could ah happen fuh Patricia tuh issue ah challenge tuh Khadijah Ameen? Was de kind ah words one person does tell somebody dey ready tuh fight. You know, “bring it come” kind ah ting? Pat wasn’t bubbly no more nah.

What happen was dat it wasn’t PNM country no more, was UNC an de new board at de TPRC didn’t like what it was smellin. Members wanted ah audit, ah forensic audit. De Integrity Commission even join een.

Patricia was still singin de praises doh. “This isn’t a waste of taxpayers’ money”, she say. She insist everyting get done lawfully, wid approval fuh buyin given by de former permanent secretary in de Ministry ah Local Govahment, Indra Furlong-Kelly.

De fact dat de toilets hadn’t been used yet could change yuh mind quick, if yuh was lookin tuh believe no money eh geh wasted.

Mih head startin tuh spin so let mih tork about someting dat easier tuh follow: Exeloo. Dat is de name ah de company in New Zealand makin dese hi-tech toilets.

Exeloo website show all different kind ah toilets. Dey install dem in 2,000 sites. Ah generous wid dat number cause what dey really say is dat dey install de units in more dan 1,000 sites. Logic say dat mean less dan 2,000. Dey start installin in 1992. Mainly in de US, Australia an Canada.

So how one ah dem, costin one million Trini oil dollars, reach Curepe when none eh reach no place else in de Caribbean? Dem udder people smarter dan Trinis or what? It cyar be because Trinis lazy. Ah mean wid all de hi-tech ting de toilet could do, Trinis wouldn’t tink it would wipe dey behind fuh dem too?

It eh doin dat is because it holdin users upsided dong by dey ankles shakin all de money out dey pocket. As much money as it cost, people someplace have tuh get shake dong.

Actually is de TPRC dat lookin tuh hold yuh upside dong. Is $5.00 dey want people tuh pay tuh use de facilities. Dat eh sound hifalutin—facilities? Hand over yuh $5.00 den.

De part ah all dis dat ah cyar explain is how is only now ah seein all dis bacchanal in de papers? It goin orn since 2006 an is now ah notice it. Steups.

Ah miss Deborah in ah next interview wid de Guardian in 2012. She was doin more sellin, or at least justifyin de sale she done make. I tort it was interestin how just by havin dem toilets, sanitation would improve in Triniland as she make it sound. She even say people wid pay de $5.00 because ah all de extras dey was goin an get. Facilities nah.

De TPRC decide tuh sell de damn tings in de same 2012 buh Khadijah say wid de new board in 2013 tings fall between de cracks. How someting dat weigh 10 tons could fall in between any crack is beyond me.

No place me eh read nuttin about anybody doin any survey. How much people really does want tuh use public toilets? How much people doh use de normal ones because dey disgustin? How much people willin tuh pay tuh use any toilet? Why $5.00? Why not $4.00 or $6.00?

An what go happen when WASA lock off de water or current gorn?

So ah back tuh 2014 an de article dat cyatch mih eye,

De TPRC chairman ah tuhday, Edwin Gooding, say nope, no toilet eh gettin sell. He say de TPRC lookin tuh call Pat an see eef she know how to service latrines else dey goin straight tuh Exeloo;  de TPRC not de toilets.

Hi-tech ting could be sensitive. Wid dem outhouse sittin in Curepe fuh years, de TPRC might as well put de call een tuh Exeloo all now.

De sensors still wukkin? De latrines go shut dong after however many uses an give deyself ah good cleanin?

Eef only dey could shut dong all who involve in dis fiasco an give dem de good cleaning instead so dis coiuld done.

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