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The Council of One Print E-mail
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Written by Jamil Matar   
Wednesday, 19 September 2012 00:00

You know, I live in Orange Walk and pass by the centre of town every day after I pick up my daughter.  Never did I notice that the market extension was once again on the PUP’s chopping block until after The Guardian exposed it two weeks ago. I mean, after the public outcry here in OW against this act of waste and spite by the present PUP Town Council, one would have believed that the Mayor would have reconsidered his earlier decision and replaced the few sections of the roofing which he had removed before being caught.

But the man waited until the complaints quieted away and then pursued his mischievous little exploit, no pun intended, to rip down the entire $50,000 structure simply because it was erected by a UDP Council. This shows to what level they will go to destroy anything that the UDP does, not at their personal expense, but at taxpayers.

The market extension shed was not causing any harm; in fact, since the PUP Council had prohibited vendors from using the stalls, commuters and students alike were using the booths as shelter either from sudden precipitation or from the hot sun. But no, said the Mayor, the shed stands as a living testament of the UDP’s industry and commitment to growth, so go it must, any which way, day or night.

In truth, this practice is nothing new to the PUP here in Orange Walk, only I had assumed that they had matured by now. Many projects that the UDP undertook in previous terms were always abandoned to ruin by subsequent PUP Councils or Governments. Perhaps, that’s why our country is so underdeveloped; one group builds and the other lays it to waste.

The shed aside, citizens are also complaining that only two streets have been graded, filled with white marl and rolled, but not a bucket of tar spread on a single street as yet. To distract attention from the unfulfilled promise to refurbish a street a month, the Council proceeded to remove all the marble benches that once decorated the Queen Elizabeth Park and install some medieval looking designs that make the area look eerie at night. All in the name of progress, I guess.

For the Mayor to have focused his energies on regress was truly disappointing, considering how well the young man spoke during his campaign. All the pledges of transparency have turned out to be counterfeit, and the only times the Mayor has faced the people since the elections have been to deliver monologues on CTV3, using this overly friendly TV station as a platform to solicit Central Government for debt relief.

 Another pressing issue that has the Council’s employees at cater-corners with their boss is the fact that the Council has become administratively top-heavy. Workers are saying that there are too many chiefs with long sleeves and obscure portfolios, all trying to outdo the other by howling commands at their subordinates. This has put a serious strain on cash flow, even with the additional revenues from Transport. For several weeks now, the employees have either had to wait for the 4 pm deadline on Fridays for their wages or collect these the following Monday afternoon.

Why I lay responsibility squarely on the Mayor’s shoulders is because one of the Councilors has been heard to complain that prior to the recent huddles to prepare a calendar of events for the September celebrations, the Council had not had an official meeting since March 7! Can you believe this? The people of OW did not in their worst nightmare think they would have elected a Mayor who has no use for counselors; basically, he has become the Council of one. 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 September 2012 10:43