Grenville Phillips Speaks – The Birth of a Pothole

After an asphalt pavement has been laid for about a decade, it is normal for rectangular shaped cracks to appear on the surface.  These cracks can be economically sealed to prevent further damage to the pavement.

Sometimes, a road is not designed for the actual amount of traffic, and the pavement can crack from overuse or fatigue.  These cracks can be straight cracks in line with the road, or shaped like the skin-pattern of alligators.  These cracks can also be economically sealed to prevent further damage.

If these cracks are not sealed, then when the wheels of vehicles go over the cracks, they can force powder sized particles out of the underlying base through the cracks, which appear as powder on the surface.  This signals that a pothole is in gestation.  If the embryonic pothole is not aborted by sealing the cracks, the road will give birth to a pothole.

Sometimes, small areas of the base layer, on which the asphalt layer is installed, is not compacted sufficiently.  The asphalt layer may depress or settle in that small area and develop a pattern of alligator-skin type cracks.  This is different from the fatigue cracks, which also have an alligator-skin pattern, but no settlement.

Sealing these settlement cracks is not effective.  The cracked asphalt should be removed, the weak base material should be compacted, and the cracked asphalt replaced with new.  If the weak base is not compacted, the pothole will reappear – like magic.  Only it is not magic.  It is simply the consequences of a badly repaired pothole.


There are several other reasons why an asphalt layer cracks and weakens.  But we seem disinterested in such matters.  We are a caring people.  We cherish our pregnant roads, and joyously celebrate each new birth.  When we nurse, or drive over the pothole, we cause it to grow from a juvenile, to an adult crater.

Why don’t we seal the cracks to abort the potholes?  Why don’t we properly repair potholes that result from base failure?  The answer appears to be political.

Before a general or by election, the government normally hurriedly patches potholes very badly.  These political patches are known to only bring temporary relief.  They do not last long, and only guarantee that the pothole will get worse after the election.

The problem is that this time, these political patches are still being done, even after the election is over.  I understand the need to keep unskilled persons employed during this time.  However, why not simply train them to seal cracks, and permanently repair potholes?  The answer to that fundamental question, is blowing in the wind.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Highway and Transportation Engineer.  He can be reached at

147 thoughts on “Grenville Phillips Speaks – The Birth of a Pothole

  1. @David

    All I wanted to find out was whether others thought Arthur’s sentence was proportionate to the crime, somehow salt bread got into the discussion and to quote from your lead article today (that is who we are) but why shouldn’t there be a discussion about crime and punishment.

  2. BLACK PEOPLE get treated by the HONOURY WHITES any how here in Barbados.

    WHITE PEOPLE AND INDIANS are treated with kid gloves by those in the DPP office. That is why WHITE BAJANS AND INDIANS can boast that don’t have any people in PRISION NOT THAT THEY DONT COMMIT CRIME AND CAUSE CRIME. That’s because all charges don’t mind how egregious against them are in the end dropped.

    One law for the WHITE BAJANS AND INDIANS and the LAW BOOKS are thrown at the BLACK BARBADIANS by the HONOUR WHITES.

  3. @ David BU

    On another note, I’ve read ‘government’ has decided to build houses worth $27,000, at Parish Land, St. Philip, for those ‘Rock Hall squatters’ “who are under the poverty line,” rather than giving them the $25,000 grant.

    In response to criticism that government was assisting numerous illegal non-nationals while Barbadians were crying out for housing, Housing Minister Duguid said, “You cannot value a life, so we have to move them from a very hazardous area. Yes, there are some people who may not be Barbadian nationals, but even if they are not Barbadian nationals they are still people whose life is of significant value, so we have to protect them.”

    This Mia Mottley led BLP administration has essentially REWARDED squatters for breaking the law and established a precedent, whereby illegal non-nationals would now believe squatting is just a ‘means to an end’ to receiving free housing at the expense of legal Barbadian taxpayers and having their illegal status regularized.

    • @Artax

      You position is noted, you have been persistent in your view. It is one of those decisions that will not secure the support of some. What we should highlight a bit more is the fact politicians from both sides have contributed to the problem at Rock Hall and others areas across the island for purely political reasons.

  4. There are too many instances of BLACK BARBADIANS being treated very harshly by BLACK JUDICIAL OFFICER OREOS here in Barbados .

    While bending over backwards to spare WHITE BAJANS AND INDIANS.

    We are reminded of the conduct of HOUSE SLAVES and FIELD SLAVES.

  5. NO it was not a diversion
    In one of my earlier comments relating to Richard sentencing of guns and ammunition
    I simply asked a question
    From 1-10 in comparison how would all guage the guy who stole the saltbread and his sentencing to Richards
    Lol and behold hands start flying some taking a position that the salt bread thief broke his bond
    No one wanted to say that Richard sentencing sent a wrong message when compared to a person who went before a judge for stealing a 65cents salt bread from a person who refused to pay him for his labour
    As Hal rightly states this is who we are

  6. @ Carson

    Have we heard the last of the Tinie Tempah trouble with Sandy Lane? Connect what you have just said with the row at G4S.
    Don’t have any exceptional sympathy for the black private police. They have a long line from the watchmen who used to beat little black boys for stealing cane.
    We have some in London who parade outside nightclubs and allow the managers, usually some young white woman, to tell them not to allow too many black in.
    They do it enthusiastically. They cannot claim to be black when they are getting kicked, and be henchmen when things are going well.

  7. Will not get into the Bajan Condition, but I think we can provide several examples where those who are in difficult situations receive punishments that do not fit the crimes.

    However, this bread case should be taken separately ….. it might have been a different crime if the woman was not alert and ‘able’ to defend herself.

  8. Read ePaper
    Home / Court / Man could spend year in jail for stealing salt bread

    Man could spend year in jail for stealing salt bread – by Barbados Today December 24, 2019
    A man who stole a single salt bread could find himself spending as long as one year behind bars.

    This morning, Arleigh Arthur Patrick Todd, 58, of Upper Collymore Rock, St Michael, pleaded guilty to entering the dwelling house of Kim Smith and stealing the bread, valued at 65 cents, on December 9. The offence put him in breach of a one-year bond to keep the peace and be of good behaviour, which carried a one-year prison term.

    According to the facts of the case, Smith was at home when she heard a noise in a bedroom. She armed herself with a walking stick and when she went to investigate, she saw Todd with the bread in hand. He retreated to the bedroom and escaped through a window.

    When asked by Magistrate Douglas Frederick to account for his actions, Todd, who is well known to the court, claimed that the complainant had short paid him for a job he had done.

    “She told me that she had taken money out for lunch that she gave me, but I told her that was not the agreement and I get vex and say ‘well, if that is the case, this salt bread is mine’,” he said.

    However, Magistrate Frederick pointed out to Todd that with his antecedents, he had no business going into anyone’s house. He informed him that he could spend some time behind bars because he had breached a bond which was due to expire on January 9, 2020.

    “You are looking at a lot of time for a salt bread, I could see the headline now: Man gets a year in prison for stealing salt bread,” the magistrate said.

    Todd responded by arguing that such a move would be a travesty of justice.

    “If I go to jail you know that the Government has to pay $100 per day to keep me for a 65-cent bread. Where is the justice in that?” he questioned.

    The accused was eventually remanded to prison until January 20, 2020, but his appearance before the magistrate had one more dramatic twist. Shortly after exiting the dock, Todd collapsed, forcing the court to go into recess. Prison officers struggled for at least 15 minutes to remove him from the court.

  9. December 24… I guess he was on Santa’s naughty list. A hell of a Xmas gift.

    The bedroom part is disturbing. I cannot take this case.

  10. What disturbing about the bedroom part
    I would hate for you to be a juror on any case
    Seems as if u can toy with the idea of supposition and called them facts
    Any how thank God there are times when the 13th juror is necessary

  11. Mariposa,
    Please do not play naive. I would hate for a female relative to have to confront an uninvited male stranger in their bedroom.

    We both agree the man was in need of some help, but we do not have to elevate to a saint with a clean mind.

    The bedroom part disturbs me.

  12. I am not playing naive i deal with facts
    The story says the lady confronted the man it does not give details of how the man made entry or where the lady confronted him in the house
    It just say he exit through a bedroom window
    Again i have to called u out for inserting your version of facts
    Any how i rest my case

    • Imagine there is a court case where the evidence supports the fact a man breached his bond, he admits it and your post this crap.

      Spot on!

  13. “According to the facts of the case, Smith was at home when she heard a noise in a bedroom. She armed herself with a walking stick and when she went to investigate, she saw Todd with the bread in hand. He retreated to the bedroom and escaped through a window.”

    Where did she hear the noise?
    How did he exit?
    Is it possible that he was in the bedroom at anytime?

  14. Do u know the difference between a noise from a bedroom and the accused in the bedroom which she or a member of the house could have been
    The story still does not indicate the accused was visibly close to her
    As a matter of fact the lady said she went to investigate
    The guy clearly states his reason for the breaking and entry
    The story does not even indicate struggle as a means of defense for the lady
    The man took the bread after jump out the bedroom window
    Suppositions are not included in evidence

  15. @ Carson C Cadogan





  16. Baje

    Thanks for your information.

    I don’t know if BLACKS will ever be free in this Barbados. Certainly not before my eyes close.

  17. Once he breaks in her house he has lost any pity i have for him as being owed anything.

    Be it a 65 cent salt bread or the potential of him taking more than “a salt bread” while being in her house, Todd loses any chance of leniency for merely being in her house!

    He needs to be locked up for 5 years for breaking and entering!

    I don’t care what he took when he entered her house ALL BETS WERE OFF!

    The issue about how indians and whites, THOUGH TRUE, speaks to the inequities in the Barbadian Justice system.

    It would easily be equated to the fact that a black man got loss way in prison for a finger nail clips worth $6.99

    But breaking and entering the woman’s house mean he it to get lock up long as far as I am concerned.

    His “intent” WAS NOT NO 65 cents saltbread

    I, Piece the Prophet, have spoken, and would note that the substantive topic about potholes, has been subverted radically.

    But, if only to show the duplicity of the author in all that he touches, de ole man would call your attention to the cracks and potholes Bedroom Police fixed in St Stephens Hill AND HOW, AFTER HE GET PAY ALL DAT HUSH MONEY BY DE BLP, de crack is back dere again!

  18. Piece the Prophet December 13, 2020 8:25 PM #: “I, Piece the Prophet, have spoken, and would note that the substantive topic about potholes, has been subverted radically.”

    @ Piece the Prophet

    It is also interesting to note WHO are the individuals that are radically subverting the substantive topics….. and what they share in common.

  19. Good to see you my friend. Hope to all is well.

    Several have pointed out the numerous potholes in what we call a justice system. The separation of people from their money and property and the harsh penalties meted out to the less fortunate are just a few examples.

    Diversions begins when a flawed example is used and strenuously defended to make a point. A honest debate is required and should be the standard.

  20. Once again you are being unfair in your summation as to why the example of the salt bread thief was referenced
    To be clear the idea of a person stealing a salt bread and his sentenced tied to a breaking of his bond which would have been ended in two weeks was not the crux of the issue
    What was the crux of the issue was the sentencing of the crime when compared to Arthur a man who was caught with ammunition which is illegal and only got a slap on the wrist
    You proceeded to infer your suppositions of what ifs about the salt bread thief
    Others threw in their two cents worth about the salt bread thief breaking his bond and therefore whatever sentence he got was worth the crime
    A late comer stated the breaking and entering is wrong therefore he should be sentenced
    However so far all that took a position about the salt bread thief is yet to answer if Arthur sentencing in comparison to the judges proposed sentencing for the salt bread thief which would be a year was fair
    My understanding of justice is that sentencing must be fair and meets the benchmark of crimes committed
    A man stock piling illegal ammunition and given a slap on the wrist because of his pedigree or who he knows such sentencing does not in my opinion meet the bench mark of fair and equal justice
    There is where the unfair wheels of justice lies in sentencing between the bread thief and Arthur slap on the wrist

  21. @ Mariposa

    For stealing a 65c loaf of bread, the culprit should have been stripped and hung at the top of Broad Street with tickets for the execution sold to tourists.
    Come to think of it, that is an industry we have not yet explored: being the execution capital of the Caribbean. Just think of the foreign currency we could earn.
    For a hanging, $1000, for a shooting, $500, poisoning and injections, $250. Wow.

  22. As to the issue of Arthur’s brother, he needs to be locked up for 120 bullets.

    He did not have a license for 120, who he plan on shooting 120 times?

    Again this is the injustice dat Barbados would want to pretend is justice and, according to Mugabe Mottley, “the Rule of Law”

    As it relates to de matter of de teif.

    Here is my litmus test.

    Your granddaughter in she house!

    She call you to tell you a man in she house

    I ent know bout wunna men who lying bout 65 cent breads,, and ting!

    What i telling wunna now is dat when de ole man get deah, and he still deah, in de house, de police coming fuh a man in de Street, down de road.

    State of dat man, well leh we see!

Leave a comment, join the discussion.