Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 24th 2013 Contents Q:Mr Mayor, did you
ever think you
would one day occu-
py the mayoral seat in your
A:(At his Montrose,
Chaguanas, home early
Firstly, let me welcome you to my
very modest and comfortable home.
Looking at your spread, it is
anything but modest (laughs),
but carry on...
It is a pleasure to have you come
here so early in the day.
The question you have asked, and
one of the things I have learned from
my political guru Mr Basdeo Panday,
is that when you are in office you
have to be politically dead if you
don t aspire for higher office, and
here I am today.
There was a bit of bacchanal
for the election of the mayor
because of the division of the
seats. How do you feel about the
whole process, the machinations
which took place?
(Locking fingers on both palms)
Clevon, I like a little bacchanal but
not the unpleasant ones.
As a matter of fact, when
somebody heard I was coming
to interview you they said,
"Clevon, you going to interview
a true Trini bacchanalist, but
not the nasty type"
(A big laugh).
I like the humorous part of it, to
make the people a little happy in
terms of the picong and so on.
But you can ask me that question
how many times you want, my
answer would be still the same: what
happened there was fully ventilated
in the news media, that is all I have
I am not adding, subtracting,
dividing and multiplying on that.
How were you all able to arrive
so quickly at a conclusion of the
impasse, which at one time
seemed like it was heading for
a prolonged period?
The answer is the same as the
above (Still laughing).
Are you sure, Mr Mayor, you
are not holding out on me by
being politically correct?
(Vigorously protesting, demon-
strating with outstretched hands)
No. No. I am not holding back any-
thing. I thought you were asking me
this morning things like how we
intend to further develop Chaguanas
in this new...
Well, wait nah, I coming to
(Interrupting) No. You see where
you are going...that was yesterday,
Clevon. The work has to go on.
OK. Before we get to your
plans and vision for Chaguanas,
third political force as is being
trumpeted by its interim leader
Everyone is free to choose a polit-
ical entity which they feel would
best serve their interest, but in the
context of the composition of the
Chaguanas Borough Council, the
point is you have to listen to the
views of all those around the table.
We all want to make Chaguanas
a better place, and to put a political
or a philosophical spin on any polit-
ical party I would leave that to the
political pundits. Right now I am
concentrating on taking Chaguanas
to even greener---no pun intended---
And if you are not a good listener,
you are not a good learner, and if
you are not a good learner, you are
not fit to be a good leader.
Over the recent years, Alder-
man Boodhan, Chaguanas has
taken on an image of financial
prosperity, with shoppers
descending on the borough from
all over the country. What is it
that you are all doing that the
people in let s say along the East-
West Corridor, such as in Laven-
tille, are not doing?
When you look at its history,
Chaguanas came from a farming
community. There is a history of
sacrificing, a history of co-operation,
a history of people prepared to
achieve what they wanted and struc-
tured themselves to uplift their stan-
dard of living, right?
(Contemplative mode, with elbows
resting on the arms of his black
leather swivel chair) Where we are
today, it is because of a very aggres-
sive retail industry which could rival
any other town not only in T&T but
in the rest of the English-speaking
Another factor is our geographical
position, located between the capital
city and the industrial capital of the
country, so it is a natural bridge
between the North and the South.
Isn t it that the people of
Chaguanas are more industrious
than those in certain areas along
I have a lot of friends and asso-
ciates in those areas, right? They,
too, are very nice people, and I am
not saying that because I think it is
the nice thing to say.
Mr Mayor, aren t you again
being politically correct?
No. No. But you know what I have
a problem with (Clasped palms)? It
is the stigma that people associate
with the corridor; there are so many
But you cannot hide the fact
that the majority of crime is
being conducted down there...
That is a subject for another time,
Clevon. A subject for the coming
together of all stakeholders in the
country that is a critical issue. But
let us go back to Chaguanas, nah.
I like how you dodged that
question, Mr Mayor, continue...
www.guardian.co.tt SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2013
with Clevon Raphael
Chaguanas has a retail industry which can rival
any other town in T&T and the wider Caribbean
This is the boast of newly-elected mayor of the central
borough, ALDERMAN GOPAUL BOODHAN.
The 56-year-old businessman, community activist and
former sports journalist, who presides over an equally
divided three-party borough council, intends to govern
through the consensus-building approach.
'We will embrace all'
• Continues on Page A11
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