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March 23, 2011



While one can argue at length about how much fossil fuels should cost, and how financially painful any incentive to preserve energy should be, the fact is that in the current socio-economic conditions many Bahamians depend on their cars because public transport doesn't even deserve the name, and that these Bahamians simply cannot afford more price hikes. However, with the prices on the rise and government taking a percentage, it might be worth looking at lowering this part and giving it to the dealers instead. Your idea of environmentalism, which is important, is not socially compatible.

As for MONTAGU (it is "Montagu" without the "e" - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Montagu,_2nd_Duke_of_Montagu - not Shakespearean), if you ever crawl along from Harbour Bay to Eastern Road in rush hour traffic, you will see that the mess at the ramp has little and limited impact on the flow of traffic, and that currently the two main problems are indeed the Eastern Road/Johnson Road intersection, as well as the traffic going down East Bay Street towards Village Road and then cutting in to the other lane right at the traffic light. These drivers slow down the left lane for their personal convenience at the expense of everyone else.

larry smith

Well, I always used Montagu - until I read Bruce's memoir recently (the engineer who built the fort). He wrote that he named it Montague. We really need a definitive answer on that one.

As for the causes of the mess at the ramp, the steering committee conducted a site survey for its report and determined that it was, in fact, activities at the ramp that were the major cause of traffic delays. However, I will take whatever improvements I can get.

As for price controls on fuel, I said that rebates and transfers of one kind or another could be used to assist the poor. It is ridiculous to try to keep fuel prices low - and impossible in our circumstances anyway.

You are saying we must subsidize/control fuel prices, over which we have no real control, rather than improving public transport - over which we have every control. Makes no sense to me.

Chuck Knowles

Concerning the Montagu ramp, I don’t know if you are aware that Family Guardian, which has its offices opposite the ramp, once offered to pay government for the ramp to be moved and the whole area to be reconstructed on the area slightly to the West of the present location.

This offer was made around 1992-3 when the new office building was constructed. Of course, nothing ever came of this offer as it was ignored, I seem to recall, by both the PLP and FNM governments.

By the way, have you seen the state of the eastern end of Montagu foreshore about which I sent a letter to the editor a month ago? Nothing changed – just more garbage!!!

billy sands

I read your column concerning the montague forshore, and the promises made concerning this area by brent symonette and loretta turner butler, but you can rest assured nothing will happen
more than another photo shoot.

It is a shame that all the promises and committees that have met and given their reports and suggestions, and yet to date nothing has been done, other than talk.

Methinks they have no intention of doing anything about that area and the traffic problems .

Thanks for your article.


Larry - I never meant to suggest that we should not fix public transport. However, I am of the opinion that we ought to do this BEFORE increasing the cost of operating a private vehicle. As for alleviating the gas station operators' dilemma, I suggest that government forfeit some of its percentage, as right now they're making more off fuel than ever before, so their overall revenue would not fall below previous years or estimates, and give that to the vendors instead.

As for the "e" in Montagu(e), I just searched through Peter Henry Bruce's memoirs on Google Books, and find twelve instances of "Montagu" but only one of "Montague." - http://books.google.com/books?id=J44OAQAAIAAJ&dq=peter%20henry%20bruce&pg=PP5#v=onepage&q&f=false

If the ramp were the problem, then tell me why the traffic jam is only eased after Johnson Road. The only "improvement" that occurs after the ramp is that no additional cars are squeezing in. There are not that many customers buying fish.

Yes, when a boat or jet ski trailer pulls in/out, it does cause a delay, but, again, there aren't that many of those either. I am stuck there in traffic every day, and I do not recall the last time I saw a trailer in action.

larry smith

Steve, the book I have (and other old books such as Stark's guide) uses both spellings, and spelling was not a big deal in those days anyway. It is probably better to rely on the current usage which is Montagu, but I will leave things as they are here for the purposes of this discussion.

I agree that the intersections further east are a big part of the problem, but the steering committee's observations - and my own - indicate that the confusion at the ramp is equally important. I also use this route daily, and the road is blocked by trailers frequently. It depends on when you drive.

The government could float the duty to a budgeted amount and so pass on the windfall to consumers and retailers, but I don't agree with trying to keep fuel prices artificially low. Why not apply the same logic to every other commodity and service?

Any attempt to hold down fuel prices would only be a temporary or partial fix anyway. And it is critically important to move away from fossil fuels in my view.

gillian slatter

One point that I think should be immediately addressed is, as you stated, the 'monstrous public health' hazard.

Vendors have no consideration for the putrid discard from their stalls. They dump all waste - conch shells, rotted fish and vegetables, in addition to anything else captured at their 'stalls' that they just do not want to deal with - into the fortuitously placed 'garbage hole' which dwells to the West of the stalls.

Regardless of how many times the contents of this hole are emptied and proper garbage cans provided, the vendors choose to dump their waste in the hole. As this makeshift dumping ground is only emptied periodically, drivers along the waterfront who would previously take advantage of the wonderful ocean breeze on their drive along the Montagu corridor, could be seen most days hastily turning up their windows in anticipation of the scent or gagging at being caught unawares.

One immediate avenue would be to fill in the hole. Then, seek a contribution from all the vendors located there to pay for the garbage disposal required. I can't comment on how the governemnt would go about collecting that contribution, but this may at least temporarily pacify citizens until the government can complete this elaborate 'work-in-progress'.

larry smith

And just to be clear, I am not arguing that the vendors and small boat operators are not entitled to facilities - they certainly are. But you can't have a public market and commercial boat ramp in the middle of a complex intersection on a major artery used by a large part of the island's population daily. Not to mention the incompatibility with a public park.


"Family Guardian ... once offered to pay government for the ramp to be moved and the whole area to be reconstructed on the area slightly to the West of the present location." Chuck - Did they make that offer publicly? Would be nice to see how the Reds or the Yellows justify it to their constituents that they refuse a gift.

"It depends on when you drive." Exactly. But the traffic problem doesn't; it's there from about 3pm to about 7pm.

"Any attempt to hold down fuel prices would only be a temporary or partial fix anyway." My point exactly. And use that time to create a viable public transport system.

"As this makeshift dumping ground is only emptied periodically, drivers along the waterfront ... could be seen most days hastily turning up their windows in anticipation of the scent or gagging at being caught unawares." A little exaggerated, but yes, they do need proper sanitary installations and garbage disposal systems put in place. Agree wholeheartedly with Larry's comment that they are indeed entitled to facilities, after all we are a small island, and the ocean is a part of our lives.


Chuck is absolutely correct - the three founders of Family Guardian, my late father being one of them, produced plans to improve the area in question (all at the expense of FG).

When the offer was refused and/or denied, my father wrote a letter to the Tribune. But my point is, that was over 20 years ago - red shirts have replaced yellow shirts and vice versa several times and still the Montagu foreshore remains a national disgrace and still we complain, we meet,we discuss, we make plans, all to no avail.

I walk along the complete area most mornings and have suggested to MP Loretta Butler-Turner that she (and other relevant ministers) do the same - a "walking" eye captures a great deal more than a "drive-by" eye. The eyesore and "monstrous public health hazard" that this historic area has become irritates me far more than the traffic issue. It therefore pleases me to learn of the grand plans for the Montagu foreshore. The big question is - are these real plans or are they actually empty promises?

As for the dumping hole to the west of the ramp - I refer to it as the "landfill of the east" - after all, it seems to be a convenient dumping ground for anyone in need of a place to dispose of their personal refuse.

Over the past 20 years much has changed in this area - but sadly in a very negative way.

Anne Lever


Government administrations "refusing" private sector help is nothing new, they refused helicopters funded by the private sector repeatedly to be placed at the disposal of the Police.
Shows how serious they are about serious matters, Montagu foreshore included.
I suppose there is no way to "finagle" personal benefit into the equation if someone else is funding/handling the project!!

Pieter Hale

56 page new providence road improvement project link http://www.bahamas.gov.bs/bahamasweb2/home.nsf/vContentW/MPWO--MOPW+-+PDF+Docs--PDF2+DOCS2/$FILE/CNPRIP_HierarchyPresentation%20APRIL%202010.pdf

Anthony Kelly

I would like to add 'my five cents' to your article.

Having been involved in one of the 'fact finding' surveys and a number of re-development meetings in 2009, your eloquent presentation and accurate facts on the situation, make for informative reading.

Sorry to say that in spite of pre-election promises, from succesive governments, we never seem to progress at all with this vexing and health hazard problem, except in the run-up to a general election as seems to be happening now, when it seems to be remembered again for a short while.

I understand that the present government has a lot on its plate at the moment, but really, no-one now responsible seems to rank this on their 'to do list' at all!

Perhaps voters who are now being asked to register for the next general election and are faced with this ridiculous situation, on a daily basis, should do the same!

Thank you for an excellent article.


The New Providence Road Improvement Project (NPRIP)
New Providence, Rest In Peace

Why do we keep using these horrible acronyms?

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