Arima Central winner positive about local government reform

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Successful PNM Arima Borough Corporation candidates Sheldon ‘Fish’ Garcia third from left and Jeniece Scott, embrace each other while celebrating with supporters and team members on Malabar Road on Monday night. Garcia was the only defector candidate that was victorious. PHOTO:ANGELO MARCELLE

Arima Central councillor Sheldon “Fish” Garcia said he would be able to carry out many more projects in his area, as the reformed local government process outlined by the government would make the process less tiresome.

Speaking to Newsday on Wednesday on his way to a meeting with the Prime Minister, Garcia thanked the PNM political leader for giving him the opportunity to contest the seat.

Garcia contested and won the seat for the UNC in 2021 local government by-elections.

“I’m looking to work in favour with this local government reform. Being a councillor before was very tiresome, because we had to wait to get things approved, wait for central government to release (funds), etc.

“With local government reform, the autonomy will be there so we don’t have to wait on them, so once we get releases, we could do much more in the area, like creating job opportunities for youth and putting programmes in place for them to keep them out of criminal activities and gang warfare.”

He said in addition to addressing crime, constituents are concerned about infrastructural problems.

“They have been asking for repairs to infrastructure, for hampers, for jobs especially. I’m looking in all directions to see where we can do things for them to not feel neglected.

“They know that as a councillor I’m a man for the people and of the people. That is one of the reasons I was able to win my first time around under the UNC umbrella, because people didn’t vote party, they voted the individual.

“I’m a man on the ground, I’ve transported schoolchildren for the past 20 years, and the same kids I transported to school voted for me the first time around and looked for me again the second time around to put me back there.”

He said he didn’t anticipate any problems working with PNM councillors.

“I was welcomed with open arms. I got more support from a PNM-controlled corporation than under my own umbrella with the UNC.”