Tempers flare in Sando council
By Stacy Moore Saturday, August 4 2012
TEMPERS flared among councillors following the swearing-in ceremony of two aldermen and deputy mayor at the San Fernando City Corporation yesterday when an independent councillor was appointed to chair four standing committees.
Sabrina Mowlah-Baksh and Theresa Johanna-Andrews took their oaths of office at the City Council Chamber. Mowlah-Baksh was then appointed deputy mayor of the city of San Fernando.
Cocoyea/Tarouba councillor Darren Mc Leod was elected as chairman of the Security and Buildings Committees and deputy chairman of the Arts and Multiculturalism and Physical Infrastructure Committees. The appointments were announced following a nomination process and were seconded.
When the majority of hands were raised San Fernando Mayor Navi Muradali announced the new appointments of Mc Leod and other councillors. But Mc Leod’s appointments did not go down well with some councillors. Among those against the new appointments were PNM councillors Robert Paris who represents Pleasantville) and Shaka Joseph of Mon Repos/Navet.
Speaking to reporters following the ceremony, Paris, said he could not understand why Mc Leod had been appointed to four committees. “How does an independent person, like an independent senator, get the most committees. Is “a eat-a-food council”, because the more committees you chair the more money you get,” Paris said, adding he would like to know Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s position on the appointments.
“He (Mc Leod) had openly on record stated his disagreement on how the Government is being run and he openly opposed the Prime Minister and here it is you give him to chair two committees and deputy chair of two he has power over,” Paris said.
Joseph said it was the first time he has witnessed the election of someone who was not affiliated with any political party being given so much authority in the corporation. “Is like an opposition MP getting to be a minister,” Joseph said.
However, Mc Leod said he was not fazed by the criticisms from the councillors. “If I am an independent councillor what they are saying is absolutely senseless,” Mc Leod said. “My track record is one of which shows performance. I have helped out people in communities.”
McLeod was elected on a UNC ticket but resigned from the party, one of the four in the People’s Partnership Government, after accusing the administration of neglect of his constituents. He declared himself an independent.