In 1595, Sir Walter Raleigh arrived in Trinidad in search of El Dorado, the fabled city of gold. Unfortunately, his ship had met with damage which led to a major leak. Luckily, they stumbled unto Trinidad. While sailing across the Gulf of Paria, Sir Raleigh reputedly inhaled the tar from the Pitch Lake, and this may have piqued his curiosity which eventually led him to the shore of Terra de Brea (La Brea in the modern world). The Caribs met with him and his crew and guided him to the area known as the Pitch Lake. He realised that the strange substance was ideal for caulking his ships and therefore took home several barrels of asphalt. At that point in time, Sir Raleigh and his crew realised the urgent need to plug up whatever hole had marred their ship and the unusual tar- like substance from the Pitch Lake proved useful.
Nearly five hundred years later, Trinidad and Tobago in a modern and developed world, has access to the largest natural deposit of asphalt in the world which contains ten million tonnes of asphalt, covers roughly one hundred acres (forty-one hectares), and is estimated to be seventy-six metres deep in the centre. On his second voyage to Trinidad, Sir Walter Raleigh took some of the asphalt home with him where it was used to pave Westminster Bridge for the opening of Parliament. In a land that has a natural resource that is regarded as the eighth wonder of the world, has completely wasted its usefulness despite this naturally occurring phenomenon being in existence all the way back in 1595 for Sir Walter Raleigh and his crew to exploit and successfully utilise to their advantage. He (Raleigh) even recognised the importance of asphalt which was alien to him at the time in paving roads and subsequently returned to take back with him enough to make the Westminster Bridge in England ready for Parliament. Tobago’s roads are far superior to those in Trinidad, and one has to ask the question: “Why is Trinidad’s roads the worst in the world even though this country has an actual Pitch Lake at its disposal?” Oh, how we have dropped the baton in what should have been a no-brainer issue concerning the improvement of roads nationwide in Trinidad (but not Tobago as they are already prim and proper in this sector for obvious reasons).
The government of the day only sees Trinidad as a voting bank when election time is slowly appearing on the horizon. So, the success of this country economically is by the way as even Tobago is viewed as being more important than its larger counterpart evident in how smooth and perfect its roads are today when compared to what Trinidad’s drivers has to experience on the daily. The whole world knows that asphalt from the Pitch Lake in Trinidad have been used to pave the driveways of Buckingham Palace, runways in Germany, and the Olympic Village in Beijing. Everyone from whatever corner of the globe has come to realise the importance of the Pitch Lake and has dutifully sourced it for the betterment of their roadways. This evidence is self-explanatory in showing how brain dead the Ministry of Works and Transport is in this country. An everlasting bountiful resource of asphalt just lying there waiting to be used by foreigners who are easily brighter than the severely IQ challenged MPs who currently dictate this country’s trajectory which doesn’t seem to be calibrated on a safe and wise path.
The mere fact that our Pitch Lake is not being put to good use is reason enough to oust a certain Minister from office for neglecting his duty. It’s almost a crime to have such deplorable roads yet have full access to unlimited asphalt and pitch with which could’ve been used to better our roadways and save our vehicles. While we have here in Trinidad, a Minister who issues speeding tickets making life hell for law abiding citizens, Sir Raleigh found perfect use for the Pitch Lake so that he and his crew could smoothly sail back to England (with no potholes in the water) while those in government here nearly half a millennium later can’t find any use for all the asphalt that is at their disposal with the rest of the world knocking on our doors to ask for our tar so that they could patch up their roads. For those in high office who suppose that they could simply ignore the cries and wails of an entire country (since they constantly enjoy hefty pay cheques at the end of the day), will sooner or later realise the folly of being a king without having a kingdom.