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Call me Mayor

By RICHARDSON DHALAI Saturday, June 30 2012

click on pic to zoom in
CHAINS OF POWER: WPC Veronica Hartman Orosco adjusts the mayoral chains on new San Fernando Mayor Dr Navi Muradali yesterday at San Fernando City Corp...
CHAINS OF POWER: WPC Veronica Hartman Orosco adjusts the mayoral chains on new San Fernando Mayor Dr Navi Muradali yesterday at San Fernando City Corp...

IT THREATENED to tear the Congress of the People (COP) away from the People’s Partnership. But in the end, normalcy returned in the coalition with former COP member and now UNC deputy political leader Marlene Coudray relinquishing the Mayoral chains of San Fernando to be Government Senator and new Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Development.

And yesterday, COP member Dr Navi Muradali took the Oath to become Mayor of San Fernando. He was warmly congratulated by a smiling and jovial COP political leader Prakash Ramadhar.

The new Mayor pledged to transform Trinidad’s southern capital into the nation’s first green city before July of next year as well as review the development plans for the waterfront and boardwalk projects.

Muradali took the oath of office during the monthly statutory meeting at council chambers, Harris Promenade in San Fernando, ending months of bitter bad-mouthing and threats between the two principal parties in the partnership, the UNC and COP, ever since Coudray defected from the latter to the former. She was later elected a UNC deputy political leader.

In his maiden address as Mayor, Muradali described both development plans as legacy projects and pledged that both this year and 2013 would be “action years”, for the People’s Partnership controlled corporation.

“We must complete what we have started over the past two years. I will review plans for the waterfront and boardwalk and that must start before the end of 2012. That is one of our legacy projects.

“I also commit to making San Fernando a green city before July 2013 and this too must be one of our legacy projects,” Muradali said. Meanwhile, in his remarks, Local Government Minister Dr Suruj Rambachan, pointed out that recent infighting within this corporation had damaged the public’s confidence in the council.

He urged the new mayor, as well as councillors to adopt a spirit of harmony and work as one to bring back trust among the burgesses.

“Conflicts have hurt the image of the municipality of the City of San Fernando over the last couple of months and it is now necessary for Dr Muradali and the team of councillors to start a new page and rebuild the confidence of the people of San Fernando and by extension the national community in the political arm of the corporation,” Rambachan said.

“This is vitally necessary if in fact the city of San Fernando is to progress.

Therefore Mr Mayor, I think this is one of your first challenges, unity of purpose and unity of voice...essential to promoting a culture of production and delivery,” Rambachan said.

Rambachan, a former Chaguanas Mayor, also advised Muradali to set aside a day within the week to deal with one of the complaints of burgesses not only in San Fernando but throughout the country — the public’s access to elected officials to discuss issues.

“I want to suggest and I hope it becomes a way of life that one day per week be dedicated by every chairman in every corporation and every mayor to meet the people of the areas they serve,” Rambachan said.

“The mayor of San Fernando can set the example by declaring Thursdays to be ‘open day’ when from eight in the morning till whatever time it takes in the night, the burgesses of San Fernando can come in and speak to him and he will have a team who will work to resolve the problems of people,” Rambachan said.

Muradali was quick in responding, saying he would embark on a ‘meet the city tour’ with all various stakeholders. He said that next week Tuesday was set aside to meet any resident to discuss plans, proposals or problems.

With former San Fernando Mayor Dr Ramesh Mootoo also attending the ceremony, Muradali pledged to establish a past mayors’ council which would meet once a month in which the expertise of former mayors could be used to deal with current issues.

Ramadhar, the Legal Affairs Minister, described Muradali as a “team leader and team builder” who would engender a sense of friendship and camaraderie among various stakeholders in the southern city.

San Fernando City Corporation chief executive officer Deodath Ragoobar pledged that he and the administrative staff would work with the new mayor to achieve his development goals.

Transport Minister Chandresh Sharma (the former Local Government Minister), Public Administration Minister Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan and Minister in the Ministry of Local Government Rudranath Indarsingh were present at yesterday’s ceremony.

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