City Councillor Lionel Jaikarran, who was elected to represent
Georgetown’s Constituency One (Kingston/ Queenstown), says he is ashamed to walk the streets of his constituency since he has not been able to deliver on his promises made during his campaign for the Local Government elections held on March 18.
“When I walk around I feel ashamed, because you would hear the residents saying look the big councillor coming but he isn’t doing anything,” Jaikarran, who represents APNU+AFC said.
Constituency one encompasses Kingston East and West, Thomas Lands, Non-Pariel Park, Cummingsburg, Alberttown and Queenstown. The local government electoral system combined constituency elections with proportional representation.
During the campaign season, Jaikarran had said in an interview with Stabroek News that he is eager “to see the transformational clean-up campaign continue… (and) would like to continue to build on (that) foundation to restore our garden city to her former glory.” Other issues that he promised to address included youth empowerment and recreation. He added that drainage and irrigation would be a top priority for him.
However, Jaikarran told this newspaper in an interview prior to being
elected deputy mayor for 2017 nearly two weeks ago, that every time he takes a request from his constituency to the council, he would be told that the council does not have money to address the issue.
He stated that he was running for council because he wanted to help the residents of Georgetown but during his nine months as a councillor the council was faced with some unexpected challenges. “I was running for the position of councillor but I didn’t really know what to expect I was green…,” he said, noting that council gave other issues priority and left community development on the back burner.
Nevertheless, he said he continued to make representation for his
constituency on drainage, lighting and garbage collection.
Jaikarran said in Kingston he has been meeting with residents and they have made complaints of persons blocking up the roads, businesses being established all over in residential areas and encroaching on parapets.
But the councillor, who is also the Chairman of the Markets Committee said after eight months of being a councillor it has become “very frustrating since there seem to be no cooperation from the administration… The dog is supposed to wag its tail not the other way around.”
The newly elected Deputy Mayor added that, “People are actually losing faith. I keep telling we them we don’t have money. But they don’t want to hear that because they voted for me and they expect to see things happen”, Jaikarran lamented.
Jaikarran believes that some of the issues that need to be addressed to
provide a better quality of living for residents don’t require money.
“Some of the issues just require the manpower. We have workers and we still have to pay council workers so I don’t see why they cannot be instructed to go and help to rectify the issues it is simple as that,” Jaikarran stated.
“Nothing is being done from the administration side. We are the councillors and we are feeling the brunt of it,” Jaikarran said firmly.
The deputy mayor-elect further said when he takes up his seat in March, he would push for constituency contracts. He believes that if the contracts can be awarded to youths of the constituency it would help in creating jobs as well as promoting cleaner communities since the youths of the community would know that it is their community and residents would hold them accountable.
Additionally, Jaikarran said he would also use his seat to aid fellow
councillors to have their plans for their constituency heard. He stated that he would ask for a meeting in which councillors would be able to put forward their plans before taking it to the full council.
Residents who spoke with Stabroek News said they have not been seeing the councillor who has been elected to serve their constituency.
Barbara Joaquin, a resident of Alberttown told Stabroek News, that in her community the drains need to be cleaned and pot holes are developing on the road. In addition, she said that she has never seen Councillor Jaikarran in the community listening to residents’ concerns.
In Queenstown, a woman told this publication, that she cannot remember who was the councillor elected to represent her community. She also raised issues similar to those mentioned by Joaquin.
D. Singh, a resident of Kingston explained that they have been waiting to see development in the community as it a platform on which Jaikarran campaigned.
The residents said the streets in the area need to be lit, some areas are equipped with lights but the lamps are not working and it should be an area of concern for the councillor.
Turning his attention to the council administration led by Town Clerk
Royston King, Jaikarran in the interview prior to being elected, said the administration of the City Council needs to act more professionally. He said “decisions are made without the knowledge of the councillors and it is put out there as the decision of the mayor and councillors. This is wrong I have never been rubber stamp and I don’t intend to be one now,” pointing to the decisions made for vendors to be removed from Robb Street and Stabroek Square and the initial decision to sign the parking meters contract.