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Muradali wears San Fernando mayoral chain
Dr Navi Muradali was yesterday officially sworn in as Mayor of San Fernando. The office of mayor became a hot topic, threatening the People’s Partnership, when former Mayor Marlene Coudray switched allegiance from the COP to become a deputy political leader of the United National Congress (UNC). Many in the COP felt Coudray should have resigned as mayor, which would have handed Muradali the mayoral chain, since he was the deputy mayor.
But she refused, sparking weeks of acrimonious debate between the PP Government and the COP. The stormy relationship between some councillors and the former lady mayor was again evident yesterday, when one of her strongest critics, Councillor Darren Mc Leod, jumped at the opportunity to move the motion to accept her letter of resignation, after it was read by CEO Deodath Ragoobar.
Coudray, who was appointed Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Development last Friday, was not present. Muradali, in his inaugural speech, thanked Coudray for her contribution,congratulated her on the appointment to the Cabinet and expressed regret at the recent loss of her daughter Michelle Coudray-Greaves, who was murdered in Jamaica earlier in the month.
The swearing-in ceremony was not without incident, as Muradali was introduced as mayor even before the mayoral chain was placed upon his shoulders. Also, no new alderman was appointed, as listed on the agenda. Councillor Anthony Ramkissoon explained that Muradali should have taken his seat as councillor for Les Efforts West/Cipero and, after Coudray’s letter of resignation was accepted and he was appointed, t should have been introduced as mayor and taken up his position.
Ramkissoon also pointed out that Mayor Muradali should have deferred the appointments for another day, to give way to the Minister of Local Government, Dr Suruj Rambachan, who was at the meeting, and others. The appointment of a deputy mayor and aldermen is scheduled for next Wednesday.
In his address, Muradali said he was humbled by his appointment, and recommitted himself to serving all the people of San Fernando. He has set aside Tuesday to deal with members of the public from 8 am. Muradali said under his guidance, the council would become an “action council.”
“We certainly must complete what we started. I would like to see the completion of the many projects undertaken by this corporation, some by this council and some by the previous one.” He committed to the start of the San Fernando Waterfront Development Project, including the proposed boardwalk, before the end of 2012, saying this would be one of the council’s legacy projects.
He outlined, as another legacy project, a commitment to make San Fernando a green city, before the end of his tenure next year. Muradali has also proposed a two-day workshop to deal with issues such as parking, security, traffic and vagrancy.
However, CEO Ragoobar said, “All plans we make are just plans.” Similar sentiments were expressed by Ramkissoon, said on taking office, “People talk about what they are going to do and should do. But on the second day, words start erasing and what we get is not change, but exchange.”
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