New Port of Spain mayor, 38: Youth can lead Trinidad and Tobago

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Municipal officers place the mayoral chain on the new POS Mayor Chinua Alleyne at the swearing in ceremony of Aldermen, Mayor and deupty mayor, Murchison Brown Auditorium, City Hall, Port of SPain on August 30 – Photo by Jeff K. Mayers

Chinua Alleyne is the new mayor of Port of Spain. He has assured the public he will make them proud and added that young people can successfully lead TT.

The 38-year-old, who previously served as chairman of the Board of Directors of East Port of Spain, was sworn in on Wednesday afternoon at City Hall.

In addition, northern Port of Spain councillor Abena Hartley, 36, was sworn in as deputy mayor.

Alleyne is the son of well-known paediatrician Dr Petronella Manning-Alleyne, and the nephew of former prime minister and PNM political leader Patrick Manning.

He said his council will continue the work that began two decades ago “to impact the lives of the people in Port of Spain.

“That work will be led by what is quite likely the youngest mayor and deputy mayor combination to ever lead the capital city.”

He said this should serve as a message to young people in TT that “(they) have a home in the PNM.”

The decisions of the council, he said, will be guided by communication, innovation and action.

He said he is aware there will be many challenges but that the council will continue to find new ways to tackle them along the way.

Some of the council’s priorities will include local government reform, addressing homelessness, littering, and fixing roads.

He said the city will be transformed into one “flowing with milk and honey.

“Whether you are an elder or a youngster, a shop owner or a Frederick Street window shopper, the treasurer or a street sweeper, your voice is important to this council and we will hear your voice.”

Is it the council’s dedication to the people, he said, which has led it into opening access to the Murchison Brown auditorium at City Hall to the public.

“We carry on our shoulders the burden of proving to our elders and to our peers that the responsibility for the affairs of the nation can be shouldered by this generation of young people…We will make you proud.”

As he was sworn in, an audience member shouted, “Yuh young, yuh go make it!”

Former mayor Joel Martinez said he felt “profound gratitude and a sense of awe” as he reflected on his last six and a half years in office.

He said it was an “incredible journey” and thanked the people of city for their support.

His proudest moment, he said, was the creation of the Caribbean’s first Chinatown on Charlotte Street.

He said he was also taught the invaluable lesson of patience as “progress does not happen at the same speed of passion and purpose.”

Minister of Rural Development and Local Government Faris Al-Rawi praised Alleyne, mentioning he comes from “a line of public servants.”

He said Alleyne’s mother supervised the birth of all his children, for which he is thankful.

On the mayorship, he stressed the importance of local government reform and promised the new council that his ministry has built “a suite of tools for (them) to use.

“A fully digitised promise – return of personnel is done online, processes are tracked…”

He said these measures will ensure the public feels more assured.

He said the phrase local government reform is “not appreciated for what it is” and urged the council to see the importance of it.

Sworn in as aldermen were Wade Coker, Dr Kongshiek Achong Low and former Olympic Committee president Brian Lewis.