Interviews and photos by Dreylan Johnson and Shamar Meusa
With Local Government Elections scheduled for the end of this year. This week we asked residents of several communities about the performance of their Municipality/ Neighbourhood Democratic Council since the last election.
Their responses are below:
Delon Grandison (Den Amstel) – ‘If I’m to be completely honest, I’ll say that the performance of the current council is less than satisfactory in my area. As much as we would have seen things happening here and there, as a youth, I’ve not felt the impact I had expected when I voted. There are some persons in constituencies who have not seen their representative since the campaigns came to a close. In other constituencies, persons are busy trying to figure out who their contact person is. If I were to rate the council on a scale of 1-10, I would give a 3.5 without apology, admitting that there are individuals who deserve a 9 but as a council, a 3.5 is what I’ll give.’
Mark Jeffrey (Albouystown) –`Since the local government body formed we seeing progress so far, cause it wasn’t there all the time, in the previous government we didn’t have this, so since the body formed from then to now, we’re seeing progress. The man (the city councillor) does come right here and talk to everybody, somebody would tell him `look, there block up’ and they would come and do the work. In previous times the place used to block up and the area used to flood for days. Everything is good here we will vote in the upcoming local government elections.’
Mrs. Shivraj (Alexander Village) –‘When the ministers come around and they would pool up money then you would see the drains cleaning. It’s not like a monthly something or a 6-months something. We have good street lights and have our garbage collected regularly. Since the first Local Government we didn’t see anything. We got good roads, we asked for speed bumps and we got them in the streets for the school kids and so. The only problem that we have is with the drainage, every time there’s a little rain the place flood, we would like for the council to come in and do something about the drainage.’
Rohini Bonar (Alexander Village) – ‘The thing is we don’t really know who our council representatives are, the drainage is the only problem in the area, our garbage is collected on time. I think we need a recreational facility in the area for the children. Back in the day when I was growing up, we had a place where the children who didn’t have that academic ability would go and learn some skills and trades, we don’t have nothing like that here, everybody is about this big academics thing, but trade and skills we need something like that for the young people in this area.’
Steffon Fordyce (South Ruimveldt) -‘The floodwaters are the main issue in the area. From Festival City Entrance going right back to the Tucville Bridge. We who live in the community try to clean it but I don’t know what goes on at the higher level. I don’t see council cleaning the drains, they usually come around and encourage us to start groups. Sometimes they pay. So far streetlights and so are good. I believe the people in government need to get more involved with the community. They have to start coming out their offices and go around and find out what’s going on. Also, they have to do something about the squatters because they have the group of people who clean and then they’re another set who dump rubbish.’
Donald Heartical (Albouystown) – `The councillors are working, they’re doing their work. Everything is up to date. If you go around now [Friday] you’ll see them cleaning. Albouystown, we make sure our area is clean. If you check around, check any alley, it’s clean’.
Neshell Bobb (Albouystown) – ‘In the few months I’ve been here, my main issue is the cleaning of the drains, especially the gutters. When it rains a little, it floods. But people also need to upkeep the area, you cannot throw garbage and stuff because you know what will happen…you see all kinds of things floating.’
Nicholas Peters (Happy Acres) – ‘Immediately after our last Local Government Elections I noticed that our Neighbourhood Democratic Council was more active than in previous years. We had roads that were in awful conditions for many years. During and after Local Government Elections those roads were fixed. There was also more of an effort towards keeping our neighbourhoods clean with more garbage disposal containers around. But in the last year and a half there hasn’t been much else. Some of our roads are decrepit again and before construction on the east coast highway expansion resumed there used to be heaps of garbage back in the spots they tried cleaning. I think Local Government Elections is great for keeping Neighbourhood Democratic Councils active and performing their duties, which is something I was never familiar with growing up. But without sustained work from the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils and lack of awareness of its duties among constituents, then it will just be like General Elections where people only get their needs met when an election comes around.’