DESCRIBING his first term as a bitter-yet-sweet experience, Peterson Francis, who yesterday was sworn in as Mayor of the City of Castries for the second consecutive time, called on his newly-sworn-in board to view their new term in office as a new beginning for the city and one where members must work together.
In a brief reference to his first term which was chockfull with both public praises for his efforts at restoring vitality to the city, improving its ambience and citizen security and being at odds at times with his superiors, Francis called on councilors to view his enthusiasm for the job as something worthwhile.
“I trust you will not see my unbridled enthusiasm for this job as arrogance, but of what we can accomplish. I fully understand it is the work of many that have come before me and the future actions of the CCC, and the active involvement of citizens that will decide our future. The basis of our own development cannot be based on the old adage, divide and conquer,” Francis said.
He added “Moving forward, I cannot change what has happened, so the focus must be towards healing and coming back stronger than before… We have a strong and vibrant Castries economy. We have businesses showing leadership on a global level, we foster innovative solutions.
“We are also a city undergoing transformation. And over the next term we serve we must make many critical long term decisions,” he told the nine members of the new Board who were present during his first address as a second-time mayor.
He said his focus will be on the launch of the green spaces project, the start of an after school programme called Partners for After School Success (PASS), the launch of an emergency hotline for the city police department, a side walk rehabilitation programme, the commencement of the Castries re-development project, the installation of parking terminals within the city and the launch of the vision 20/30 which will see the start of the redevelopment of Castries.
The Mayor admitted that the ventures outlined, though important, would require a lot of effort on the part of the city and councilors.
“If future generations were to look back favourably on how we manage our affairs, one thing is absolutely clear: we will need to work together as we cannot move forward with people pulling in different directions,” Mayor Francis said.
The relatively new Local Government Minister Lenard ‘Spider’ Montoute, who passed on the trappings of the mayor’s office on to Francis said he looked forward to working with the mayor.
“This being my first official duty as minister responsible for Local Government, let me say it’s a pleasure to start here. As minister I look forward to working with you hand-in-hand. Your task is a challenging one. The City of Castries is at a juncture where we must create a renaissance. This can only happen if you have the will,” Montoute said.
Minister Montoute encouraged Francis to engage citizens in his efforts at transforming the city and ensure their full participation as this will be the only way he will succeed in his endeavours.
“I call upon the citizens of Castries to work with your council in ensuring that we realize the changes that we want to bring about,” Montoute said referring to the City of Castries.
Regarding how the CCC will be managed, Montoute said that although he is the Minister, the Mayor will be the one in charge.
Addressing the Mayor, Montoute said: “My style is very simple. The Mayor will manage the ship. I will lead the ship. My role is to provide leadership and policy guidance of the government. It is you I rely on to implement the goals…”
The 11-member Board of the Castries Constituencies Council (CCC) has three new members in the persons of Perry Thomas, Margaret Elivique and Esther Bousquet (Deputy Mayor).
Other members of the Board (who were also on the previous Board are: Peterson Francis (Mayor), Christopher Mitchell, Victor Maurice, Lyndell Brown, Stephen Chicot, Felix Deterville, Genevieve St. Croix and Leslie Prospere.