Sunday, October 26, 2008

Realizing Pothole Possibilities

I must congratulate those who've made our fair city what she is today. I refer of course, to Belize City, which has never before looked the way it does now –well, not since the streets were first paved, anyway. I congratulate our municipal leaders, because in its current condition, this city presents tremendous opportunities.

“But the streets,” you cry. “The streets are a complete mess!”

Okay, yes, I’ll concede that the streets are a mess. But seriously, we’ve had massive flooding in the districts, and obviously these floods have destroyed our city streets –personally, I blame the Cayo flood. And anyway, while you’re so focused on the potholes, you’re forgetting that we have two and a half new roundabouts to celebrate about. Be honest, when you’re trying to negotiate those roundabouts, heart in throat, trying not to get broadsided by a taxi driver, you forget all about the potholes, right? Thought so.

Personally, I think The Hans and Nandini Bhojwani Foundation, whatever that is, deserves our profound gratitude for making us forget our lesser problems as we negotiate their obstacle course. I for one would like the Foundation’s address so that I may personally share my feelings on the matter. I'm also depressed when I realize that traffic authorities in New Zealand will never know how much their inspiration affected our stress levels.

However, I digress from the main point of this article. I had started by saying that the current state of the city presents tremendous opportunities. No, you short-sighted today-thinkers, I’m not talking about road contracts to friendly contractors; that’s way too short-term and much too obvious. I’m talking about far deeper (if you’ll pardon my pun) options for commercial gain.

You see, the other day, my car fell into a pothole. I had a lot of time to think while I waited to be rescued. It was, after all, still daytime and the pothole was so deep that no one could hear the car horn or my calls for help. Thank heaven that when it got dark I was able to turn on the car’s lights, and a passerby saw the glow and called for rescue.

While I sat on the edge waiting for the crane to haul out the tow truck that fell in while trying to pull out my car, I made a few notes recording my epiphany. I hope that someone will forward these ideas to Her Lordship so that she can use them to raise a bit more revenue for the city:
  1. Use the city streets for vehicle testing. I think that major auto companies worldwide can send their SUV prototypes here for road tests. If no more than five or ten pieces fall off a vehicle during a vigorous drive through the city (which must include a drive at moderate speed down Albert and up Regent Streets), and as long as one of those pieces isn't the engine, the auto company can assume that their prototype can go into production and be marketed as rugged enough for any environment.
  2. Ditto for the tire manufacturers. The standards here would be a bit different, of course. I’d suggest that if only one tire blows out during a drive down those same streets, that’d be success in my book. However, it’ll be up to the engineers to decide if that’s a high enough success measure.
  3. Consider the possibilities for oil exploration. I haven’t had a chance to research it, but I don’t recall hearing that the government sold exploration rights for Belize City. Now I don’t know that there’s any indication that oil deposits lie below the city, but it occurs to me that some potholes are sufficiently deep that less drilling would be required. So while there mightn’t be any oil, the bean counters should appreciate that exploration costs would certainly be considerably less than drilling inland, even if that’s where the oil actually is.
  4. Many major cities worldwide contract with large studios to film movies on location in their city. Belize City has been one of these locations in the past, but no one has tried to attract one of these studios to Belize in quite some time. I think it’s time to revisit this income opportunity, and I’m sure that we can jumpstart the whole thing if we can find and attract a studio planning to film a remake of Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Now that you’ve read this through, and your brain is spinning with the possibilities, I’m sure you too have your ideas. Feel free to submit them, either by clicking ‘comment’ at the end of this article if you’re reading it online, or if you’re reading this by e-mail, send that comment in to The most creative submission gets to name a pothole of their choice, courtesy of the Belize City Council.


  1. If you throw in the stray dogs and huge rats and not to mention the crocodiles we can surely film I AM LEGEND 2.

  2. This is a true example of 'cruffy' behaviour. Da fu we culture. It seems even the rains have made our wallets wet.
    Am looking forward to their next set of excuses.

  3. Brilliantly said! We need to compile a list of all these suggestions into a slender volume and pass to the council. I see they've installed a drop box for comments and suggestions in the newest pothole smack infront of City Hall. Incidentally, when I passed the 'west' roundabout (and by the way who is it that's the council's compass minder??) I saw one poor pensioner caught on the precipice about to slide into a canyon of a pothole. Pity.

  4. Good one. I just came back from another Caribbean country where the roads have no potholes, only to find that our potholes have no roads!