A Hole in the Ground

Our little town has its very own hole in the ground….a hole which has appeared every year since the council granted planning permission for a housing development which involved draining the lagoon which served the higher ground above, where a road runs from the town to the coast.

Without fail, the rains come, the drains don’t drain and the road collapses, leaving producers on the coastal side of the road without means to get their cattle and veg to market as the alternative road is too dangerous to be used by anything other than a normal car.

And every year the state roadworks department appoints the same contractors to patch things up…eventually. Just in time for the next rainy season at which point the road collapses again.

But this year, things changed. The locals and the producers got together under the leadership of Don Kiki, clubbed together and remade the road entirely, sorting out a new system of drainage to avoid future collapses. Producers could get to market, buses could serve the communities along the road…road users were asked for a contribution to the costs……everyone was happy.

Except, of course, the council.

Don Kiki was solemnly warned that any accidents would lay at his door….. he was threatened with legal action… I don’t know if he smiled at that threat but I did as the council’s tame lawyer is about as effective as a chcolate tea pot and costs the rate payers a fortune in lost cases. But given to whom he is related, the council is happy to contribute to his lifestyle.

Under unacustomed pressure, the council sought to shift the blame for inaction onto the state roadworks department. Not surprisingly, given their lawyer, they lost. The constitutional court declared that yes…the roadwork bods should do something, but not before the council sorted out the drainage.

Collapse of stout party. The council, despite holding fiestas for its employees when social gatherings are strang verboten thanks to the virus and increasing said employees’ salaries in a time of austerity, has no money to sort out the drainage problem.

And this is normally where things would have rested….a legal obligation to do something negated by a previous condition while the road collapses yet again

However, this year, there is another factor to be taken into consideration.

Finally, a statewide corrupt connivance between the roadworks department and major contractors has come to light….so grave that the courts have been forced to put major actors in the contracting firms in preventive detention, rather than letting then swan about as they please or take off in their private jets.

Work deliberately done badly, to ensure a contract in the next year…inferior material used….and, of course, small, decent firms cut out of the contracting round.

The roadworks department felt that it must flex its muscles and be seen to be doing something. Its workmen put ‘road closed’ notices on each side of the new road.

Locals removed the notices.

A council employee denounced one of those doing the removal of notices.

The roadworks departmemt announced that it had to close the road as it did not meet the norms…and that it was going to install a Bailey bridge to solve the problem On the subject of when, the department remained tight lipped.

Contributors to social media were quick to point out that when it comes to dangerous bridges the roadworks department is content to put up notices to that effect…but neither closes nor repairs them.

Locals called for a show of solidarity, which was well supported, and a demand for approbation of Don Kiki’s action, supported by the Ombudsman, has been delivered to the council.

This month marks the bicentenary of liberation from Spanish rule….and locally, an attempt at liberation from old Spanish practices.

26 thoughts on “A Hole in the Ground”

  1. I recall a friend in Normandy, many years ago, complaining of similar tactics..In those days much was blamed on “the war,: Hitler/the Allies/the resistance, you know….”

    1. Anything, in fact, but the blasted council!
      We had the opposite in France. Communal roads would be made up to a high standard, then, in a council meeting assembled without notice except to the faithful, the roads would be made over to local farmers who then had access for the HGVs delivering their chemically enhanced animal feed.

  2. There seems these strange days to be so very little legitimate business with which to underpin the finances of the fraudulent. Methinks that since the first Robber Baron von Clubandtaxem givernments everywhere have had the most amazingly carefully arranged teeth, so as to be able to chow down, biting the honest individual but entirely missing the corrupt and the corporate. We have headlines today about how our glorious Prime Minister has been pleading with Jeff Bezos to pay Amazon’s vast unpaid tax bill here in Ingerlund. Any individual would simply have the money – and penalties – seized.

    1. I knew a chap – a teacher – who thought that it would be a good idea to castrate all those who could not pass four national level exams at age 16……I’m not sure whether that would end up with a wotld full of malevolent geniuses, though….

  3. They have just been patching our road here, they do it every year, mostly the same patches replaced each year!!! It is just a pain for us as they close the road to do it and we have to find our way around on country roads. At the beginning of the work, there is a deviation with an arrow, afterwards nothing so you hope you can find your own way. Last month the road was closed to Soyeaux, we had an appointment and left 30 mins early just in case but we did not bargain on having to find our way through roads we had never set eyes on before and not an arrow insight. We made that rendevous with 30 seconds to spare!
    Hope that all is well with both of you (or as well as it can be) and take care, Diane

    1. Yes, i remember the road patching! And the detours! All right in your own neck of the woods, but when you had to go further afield it could be a nightmare. You two take care….

  4. So, you have a Try council and a Tory government.
    No wonder there are backhanders about.
    So nice to see the courts take action. I wonder if they will ever do that here?
    If the new road does not collapse, will the council employ your people?

    1. Living here, you don’t have to! Our council and its neighbouring one are in for another campaign for a bridge repair which would cut one and a half hours off the journey from the neighbouring canton to the meat processing plant in ours…Each says the bridge is the responsibility of the other….but a cunning pln has been hatched. The bridge forms part of the old Mule Road dating from the Conquest – the only way to get produce to the coast and on board ship for Panama. So the national touristy board is to be involved, climing the bridge repair is essential as part of a tourist project to attract people to he interior of the country. And the tourist board has clout.

  5. To be honest, I could live happily never hearing again that Hole in the Ground song. Perhaps if your local construction crew were to use Lego parts it would not wash out so frequently? I hope I don’t have to read about Don Kiki being put in the hoosegow for civil disobedience. He deserves a medal. Or maybe you could name a bridge in his honor should one ever be constructed. Nah, that’s really hoping for too much.

    1. I strongly doubt that the usual contractors could master putting Lego parts together…especially if there were different colours….
      As to the song…at one point it was endlessly on the radio…enough to make one dig a hole to bury oneself after a few repetitions.
      I expect they will try to fine Don Kiki as they are trying to do to the chap who was denounced for pulling up the road closed signs…..probaby wait a few months in the hope that things will die down and then serve him with the summons – which will probably start things up again!

  6. There’s a limited gene pool here for those who seek office…
    In the five or so years since I left local office, almost all my township offices are filled by members of the same family, from the adjoining village. The one last person from my township still holding our standard high tells me how badly it has gone since the bulldog (me) left. No one else is willing to hang from their throats until they tell the truth.

    1. I can well believe!
      When we lived in France posts in one local commune were occupied by one vast family….no on else got a look in.
      I would dearly like to hang at the throats of our local council…..the sheer waste, tthe incompetence….

  7. Draining marshlands wAs the first big mistake. Humans just don’t seem to learn about drainage (just ask those who live in Louisiana or the Houston area whenever there’s a hurricane). How does this council keep getting re-elected?

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