Five candidates are contesting to be the representative for Constituency Two (Kitty North, Central, South and Subryanville) in the Georgetown municipality at the March 18 elections and among their priorities are cleaner and safer communities.
The candidates are Carlyle Goring, a court marshal, who is a candidate for APNU+AFC; Jameel Rasul, a businessman representing Team Benschop; herbalist Alfred Park, of the Healing the Nation Theocracy Party; Patricia Fergusson, of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic; and individual candidate Albert Cromwell, who is a kitchen assistant.
Four of the five hopefuls told Stabroek News that they are ready to make a difference in their community. All the candidates spoke except for Ferguson, who said she was instructed not to speak to the media until a later date. She did not identify the later date.
Goring said he has chosen to get involved in local government elections since he sees it as an avenue to strengthen local democracy and give people the voice to say what development they would like to see.
“A lot of constituencies were neglected and people were always blaming each other. When you go to find out what is being done about a situation, they tell you that is the RDC [Regional Democratic Council] problem. When you go there, they say it is the ministry, then the ministry would tell you it is City Hall and get you running around… but now this election would help us to hold the person, whoever is elected, accountable,” he added.
Once elected to the city council, Goring said he would be pushing for the streets of Kitty to have street lights, which he hopes to achieve through a collaboration between the Public Infrastructure Ministry and businesses.
Discussing his plans for improving security, he stated that he would engage the police force to form community policing groups and deploy patrols to tackle crime.
Touching on improving health, he said that he would work to create a cleaner environment, which he said would curb the spread of diseases. He stated also that he would advocate for better disposal of garbage and seek to implement a system where City Hall provides collectors on a regular basis. Goring said clean environments raise healthy families. “Healthy families raise clean communities, which raise a healthy country and bring a better world,” he added.
Goring said a number of public bridges in the constituency need to be rehabilitated and he would also be pushing for that. According to him, the constituency needs better and safer parapets for the residents to utilise. He explained that on occasions vehicles would park on the parapets, leaving residents to walk on the busy roadways. As he spoke on public infrastructure, he said that he would address the need for public spaces, such as the police station, schools, and the health centre, to install wheelchair ramps for the differently-abled. He also explained that he would push to have bus stop sheds with seats at different points in the constituency for the elderly.
Further, Goring also said he would look to conduct research to find out what is the cause of the social ills within his community, particularly among youths. He said that many youths are misguided by their influences, “they often fight over turf and respect… Kitty used to be a close-knitted community.” He said he would seek to assistance of the Cops and Faith Network to aid in mentoring youths and guiding them on the right path.
He also stated that he would engage in proactive public-private partnerships to help realise some of the projects.
For Rasul, the decision to contest to be the representative for the constituency was as a result of his desire to create “a better community” and by extension a better Georgetown.
He said that for far too long things have been neglected. “If you look around, the drains clogged up and the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) had done some work but not to my satisfaction,” he said, while emphasising his vision for a clean and healthy community for residents.
He indicated that once he is elected to the city council, priority areas would be identified for urgent attention.
He also noted that they would look at issues such as the Kitty Market and finding a place for the vagrants who often congregate there, as well as improving security for the constituency through more street lighting, city police bike patrols and community policing groups.
Further, he stated that he would explore the possibility of creating a recreational avenue along the strip between Lamaha Street and the seawall, “where you can go with your kids and walk or sit on the benches and have a good time.”
Rasul said he has started to campaign and the response has been excellent so far, making him confident that he will win.
Needs not wants
Park, who noted that his campaign would begin this week, said his intention is to see the “needs” and not the “wants” of the people addressed.
Among these needs, he said, is the creation of recreational facilities in the constituency to benefit all but especially the young generation. He noted that it is important to ensure that the Farnum Playground in Subryanville and other play spaces have suitable recreational facilities. He said the Farnum ground has been there for years and no one has done anything about it. “It needs infrastructure because people cannot go and do anything there. All they do is weed it. There is no facilities for relaxation and we need places to relax,” he added, while committing to working with the police to ensure that the site is free from vandalism.
Park also stated that he would be working to see that young people get jobs. He noted that crime cannot be stopped without jobs and money.
Clean and green
Although Cromwell does not have the backing of a major political group, he believes he can make an impact. He noted that no matter the outcome of the election, he is hopeful all the contestants would work with him to create a team to build the community.
Cromwell is urging residents to vote for him so that he can work to create a “clean and green” neighbourhood.
Cromwell, who is a kitchen assistant, said he remembers the days when cleaners from the M&CC would be in the streets early in the morning cleaning and he would like to see the practice resume.
It is his desire to see a cleaner environment and to serve that has prompted him to get involved in the elections.
Another priority for Cromwell is ensuring children stay in school and one of his solutions is providing meals for the less fortunate children in the area through a public- private partnership.
He also stated that he would seek to ensure there is a doctor at the Kitty Health Centre 24/7 to save residents the hassle of having to go and spend long hours at the Georgetown Public Hospital.
He also mentioned wanting to create jobs for the unemployed as well as to see more youths involved in playing sports.