Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 30th 2017 Contents A26
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New Beginnings...People, Passion, Performance
The Mayor of Point Fortin
Every journey has a de-
finitive beginning. Some
beginnings evolve from
crises, some result from
sheer need, some are
pleasant, and some have their gestation in
circumstances that one would rather forget.
The inauguration of the 10th Council of the
Point Fortin Borough Corporation and my own
elevation to the status of Mayor as new begin-
nings? Absolutely! And while these two issues
are interconnected, they must be addressed
separately, first on a personal dimension and
secondly in the context of the Corporation as
a maturing municipal administration.
My personal political journey began when as
a young man, I had the honour to chair a YTEPP
graduation ceremony at which I had the addi-
tional honour of meeting the sitting Mayor
of Point Fortin, Alderman Lawrence “Larry”
Achong. After commending me for my speaking
skills and my command of the English language,
in his characteristic nonchalant way he said to
me: “You could be Mayor one day.”
Little did he know it, but on that fateful day
Larry Achong planted a seed of mayoral aspi-
ration and ambition, which he and many others
continued to nurture and nourish with encour-
agement, motivation and support throughout
my political career...up to this very day.
But with all the support in the world (and I
have been truly blessed with excellent support
teams), the journey was not all smooth sailing.
From very early I realised that political sagac-
ity, on-point negotiating skills and the ability
to gingerly navigate around multiple situations
were critical requirements for the job that I just
had to master. Worse yet, I had to learn on the
job, because service in the political realm usually
comes with exceedingly high levels of expecta-
tion. And as if that isn’t challenging enough in
the minds of many political clients, tomorrow
seems like a very long way off. They want it now!
Thankfully, Almighty God has been my life-
long companion and has blessed me with a cup
full of patience and tolerance. Together with
my appetite for information and knowledge
and my appreciation for people, this has been
my primary fuel and catalyst, as I journeyed
through the years of public service and per-
sonal and professional maturity.
Upon assuming public office as a Council-
lor in 2010, I adopted a political philosophy
which dictates that my objective and mission
is to make people the centre of the decision
making process through consultation, dis-
cussion, participation and input from all key
stakeholders in the decision making process.
That continues to be my political policy, phi-
losophy and driving force ... PEOPLE.
Fast forward to December 2016 and what was
previously vision, ambition and aspiration was
suddenly converted into reality, and what a hum-
bling experience that turned out to be! Thanks to
my years of contemplation and I daresay prepa-
ration, I immediately sought to breathe new life
into my people-centred philosophy by embrac-
ing the CEO and Administration and adopting
an open-door, inclusive, team-oriented style of
leadership with members of Council.
I firmly believe that such a people-centred
approach to leadership is the best blueprint for
changing positively, people’s station in life. Pur-
suing that thought to the next level, I would argue
that it is the only tested and proven template for
the development of our country. Begin by first
developing our people in all spheres of their lives.
Our first opportunity to test this thesis came
less than two months into the term. Carnival in
Point Fortin had been on the decline for several
years, and Carnival 2017 was fast approaching.
As Mayor and team leader, I reached out to all
stakeholders, engaged in the necessary consul-
tations and the rest is history. Reports on the
ground indicate that Carnival 2017 was the
best that Point Fortin would have experienced
for many years. I make bold to claim that we
achieved that result, because the people were
involved in the planning and execution of the
celebrations, and all stakeholders were fully
embraced and included.
New Beginnings ... Passion
It is often said that the people of Point Fortin
have the raw talent and natural skill and ability to be
the best, no matter the area of endeavour. To a large
extent this is borne out by the athletic prowess of
Civic Centre Jets, the domineering power of Civic
Centre football team in the glory days.
The main ingredient that would have helped
to convert that raw talent into consistently
excellent sporting performances must have
been passion! It is that sense of passion that
powers current Soca and Calypso icons like
Iwer George, Superblue, Faye Ann and Terri
Lyons, Cro Cro and so many others to keep our
Borough way ahead of the rest of the country.
At thelocal government level,it is that same Point
Fortinpassion that consumes some of our best minds
and our most promising young people and brings
them into the political arena.Today,the 10th Council
is benefiting from that sincerity of purpose and love
for people and community ...passion...as our still-
new team buckles down to thejob with an abundance
of enthusiasm and optimism.
I am also satisfied that the so-called man in
the street is similarly seized with tremendous
passion, judging from the way people continue to
respond to developments around them. Yes, it is
the people’s passion that drives them to warmly
embrace all members of Council. It is their pas-
sion that drove them to turn out in their large
numbers and to make Carnival 2017 the great
success it was. It is the passion of the people
that triggered their overwhelming response to
our call to clean up their surroundings as part
of the national clean-up campaign.
Passion is a most precious and powerful com-
modity as singlehandedly,it makes a big difference
between failure and success and distinguishes the
mediocre from the exceptional. Thank God, Pas-
sion is fully alive and well in the hearts, minds and
consciousness of the people of Point Fortin.
New Beginnings ... Performance
As passionate as a people may be about their
politics, their popular leaders and the political
organisation to which they belong, performance
is inevitably the most critical criterion by which
leaders are judged, and may I say harshly so.
As a student of politics, I try my endeavour
best not to lose sight of this fact. And while I
must of necessity assign an appropriate de-
gree of importance to other factors in the mix,
performance will always remain the primary
consideration for me.
What does that have to do with the 10th Coun-
cil? Everything! This Council has the distinction
of assuming office at a time when expectations
are very high, with the flames of optimism being
fanned by the fact that there is new, young blood
sitting around the horseshoe at the town hall.
In my respectful view, people cannot be fault-
ed for being passionately optimistic about their
future. On the contrary we, the sitting members
of Council collectively offered ourselves, our
policies, our Party and our shared aspirations
to the people as a platform for social and eco-
nomic progress in this our lovely Borough. The
people came, they listened, they accepted and
they gave us their franchise, along with their
needs, hopes, goodwill and most of all their pas-
sion. The people have fulfilled their end of the
contract, and it is now incumbent on Council
to respond in the only language that will suffice
in the current circumstances...Performance.
What threatens to throw the proverbial spanner
in the works, is the fact that the financial fortunes
of the country are not as rosy and as friendly as we
would want them to be at this time. That unfortu-
nately translates into some measure of constraint
in terms of what we are actually able to deliver,
because of funding challenges.
But if we adopt the position that challenging
does not equate to impossible, which I can assure
you the sitting Council has done, then the job
at hand is essentially one of changing the way
we do business using creativity , innovativeness
and inclusiveness as the new standard.
So as we celebrate 37 years as a Borough, this
10th Council is redefining performance from
a perspective of the aspirations and expecta-
tions of the burgesses, whose passion powers
their very existence, in the proud tradition of
our outstanding legends who have paved the
way for the present and future generations.
Our theme New Beginnings...People, Passion,
Performance is therefore our rallying cry, as we
seek to craft the road ahead.
It therefore gives me great pleasure to ex-
tend to all burgesses, my sincerest wishes
for a tremendous 2017 Borough Anniversary
Celebration. And when all is said and done,
it is my fervent prayer that as one collective,
we will all march confidently ahead to city
status in the not too distant future.
May God bless us all, and may God bless
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