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By Patrick Ferrari

Six weeks ago, there was an article in The News newspaper captioned, “Trailers in rush hour traffic becoming a concern!”  It was journalism — or wasn’t — by a nappy chinks journalist.  “Nappy chinks” because he don’t concern himself with evidence and he too lazy to investigate.  Both useful when one has an illusion to grind.

I do not know that the writer is a “he”, but it makes it easier for I-man to assume a gender.  So, I am going with “he”/

Full disclosure: For a time, and in this paper, I was a nappy chinks writer.  Writer; not journalist.  I wrote opinion pieces and had the luxury of being subjective and reckless.  But I wasn’t.  Reckless, that is.

Nappy did, in truth, supply some evidence.  Alas, it sabotaged his argument.  His evidence took the form of two pictures and two times, not once, they showed that logic was immaterial to the journalist.

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“We” have a penchant for trying to fix the result rather than the cause by which it arises.  It is a habit of light thinkers who’d rather worry about the problem another day.  And it appeals to the low-informed.  It ran like a leitmotif throughout the piece.

Nappy said that the traffic “during the rush hour is normally bumper to bumper” and deemed, evidence-free, “this situation can be worsened and even dangerous when 16 wheel-trailers … are part of this traffic congestion.”  How so?

He went on to bitch about a Friday afternoon in particular: “In the busy traffic out of town to Arnos Vale, not one but two trailers could be seen in the traffic, just 12 vehicles away from each other, a matter of concern by many persons.”  Why?

First “worsened”.  “Nappy’s “town” starts at the Rubis by Victoria Park and “Arnos Vale” is at “Massy’s.”  I know whereof I speak.  That is 3.1 miles, or 16,368 feet.

The accepted average length of a car in a queue is 25 feet. A tractor with a 40-foot container (“trailer’) is 52 feet.  Bumper to bumper from town to Arnos Vale, then, comprise 650 cars plus two “trailers” — that Friday.  Two “trailers” are equivalent to four cars in a queue.

The two “trailers” made up 0.7 percent of the traffic from “town to Arnos Vale”.

In bumper-to-bumper traffic, it takes me one hour with a 40-foot container to go from town to Arnos Vale.  Same in my Jeep.  I do not jump queue.  And if I did, where am I going?  This is what the traffic hogs don’t get and you can ask Abigail Haynes about this.

Three point one miles in one hour is 4.5 feet per second.  If I jump one “trailer” and one car, I’d gain 77 feet or 17 seconds.  Hurrah.  But I am still in the 3-mile queue.  Not eating dinner just yet.

Nappy seemed traumatsed that there were as many as two “trailers” — “not one but two” — in a 3-mile long procession.  His logic is that taking out the 4-car equivalent, 0.7% of the congestion, would solve the whole congestion problem for the remaining 650 cars, or 99.3% of the congestion.  It won’t Napps.  Not by a long shot, it won’t.   If only because there are four more cars and four more, ditto, coming over Mc Kie’s Hill to keep the procession jammed pack with 654 cars moving at 4.5 ft/sec.

no licence
No driver’s permit, no insurance. (Photo: Searchlight)

Napps, look at your pictures, lad.  There are cars in front and behind the “trailers.”  The “trailers” are going as fast as the cars behind and as slow as the cars in front.  They are keeping, not hindering, the pace.  If Napps is spoiling to fix the symptom, he is going to have to take out more than the equivalent to four cars.  Would his on his list?  Methinks not.

Now, “12 apart”.  The distance between the two trailers — in his own pictures — Casson Corner to Cobano’s is 1,584 feet.  Yes, I measured it.  He shows nine cars; they occupy 225 feet.  That leaves 1,359 feet, which will accommodate 63 cars.  Now, he got only three to put in.  Napps, dat doan rhyme, dread.  Not if is bumper to bumper.

In his piece, the reckless journalist peddled, without question, what he “overheard”.  To wit, “trailers” are “very dangerous and hazardous”.  “Hazardous”?  Seriously?  More so than mushrooms?  Is only a nappy chinks journalist would run with overhead.  Overheard is neither council, nor scripture, nor evidence, nor legislative, nor anything else but low-information gossip. 

accident in kingstown
(iWN photo)

The only piece of investigative journalism I could discern was when The News got involved.  And half-baked it was.  “The News spoke to Superintent [sic] John of the Traffic Department.”  About what?  About the hair-brained idea, also “overheard,” that “trailers” “are not supposed to be this heavy traffic.”  And The News took time to bother a SOP with that.  Crikey.  Man, they could’ve asked the janitor.

While they were wasting the good superintendent’s time with janitorial crap; and inasmuch as they done dey bothering the top-ranking traffic cop, did The News busy themselves with the trumped-up X-vehicle separation law that “trailers” are supposed to stick to?

And far more important, in their newsgathering, did The News look to support the “very dangerous and hazardous” illusion?  Like, ask for accident records; deaths; lost limbs?  Or even — no, especially, yes especially — about minor accidents that the “trailers” cause, which warrants such an extreme charge?   

If they did, they did not report it.  The News, then, can be guilty of unethical and misleading journalism.

Fatal crash
A fatal crash. (Photo: Searchlight )

Nappy mustn’t study his head.  He is looking at the situation through a straw.  There are no rigs, as a rule, in the morning bumper-to-bumper traffic heading into Kingstown.  Yet it is.  He knows where I am talking about and if he doesn’t, he would if he listened to Abigail’s “Traffic Highlights”.

So much for the symptom of the disease.  Now let’s look at the disease.

It isn’t Nappy’s “trailers”.  And it isn’t the 650 cars.  The disease was nailed few days ago, in two crisp, succinct sentences by the Minister of Development.  One spoken, the other non-verbal.  And the latter hoisted his ministry by its own petard.

Once upon a time, in 1984, one man had one tractor and two trailers — and not even a 40’ container trailer at that.  Today, there are about 21 owners with 41 tractors and roughly 100 trailers between us.  Back in ’84 there were about 2,700 vehicles.  I’d happy to be corrected.  Today there are 34,000.

The Minister’s spoken sentence was that the traffic has increased exponentially in the past decade.  And the unspoken: we’re on the cusp of two decades in power; that’s long enough to know what should be done.

Listen up Nappy, the minister is saying, if you have a one-gallon jug, when you pour more than the gallon in it, you will get bumper-to-bumper traffic.

So Napps, old boy, go ahead, take out all the “trailers” all you want but it isn’t the solution.  Because it isn’t the problem.

Vehicular increase is progress.  Limiting or scheduling their use is retrogression.  So, progress must slow down to match road network stagnation?  Is so it go?  Is that what Napps and The News are advocating?  Then get me TF out of here.

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

The opinions presented in this content belong to the author and may not necessarily reflect the perspectives or editorial stance of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

One reply on “Nappy Chinks”

  1. C ben-David says:

    Another outstanding piece of satire, rooted in actual facts and analysis.

    We need to hear more often from you Patrick Ferrari!

    Journalists have a long standing reputation for being lazy, biased, unethical, and dishonest: they sit at their desks all day (instead of going out to gather their material) where they write a lot of nonsense that is later proven false (see one example at ).

    Fortunately, Kenton Chance is not one of these lazy, biased, unethical, and dishonest journalists (even though he wrote five times more stories about the trivial election petitions issue than the story actually deserved to justify his six wasted days attending the hearings. LOL.)

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