San Fernando Mayor Robert Parris.
SAN FERNADO mayor Robert Parris has urged council members not to let politics “mess up” the corporation’s agenda to move forward.
His plea came on Saturday night at his first civic reception and awards function at the corporation’s auditorium.
There have been criticisms that the month-long activities commemorating the 35th anniversary of San Fernando achieving city status was all about ‘wine and jam.’
“Don’t let politics define you.
“We always let politics mess us up. Politics does not define who you are as an individual.” Parris explained before an audience which included ministers Brian Manning and Randall Mitchell, past mayors, and the creative and business community.
He defended the activities which included J’Ouvert, several fetes, military parade, police band concert, launch of carnival.
“This is not about wine and jam. This is about defining who we are as San Fernandians. Redefining who we are and moving forward because the events we are having are needed to raise funds.”
“Our (city) colours are blue and yellow. There is a time and a place for politics. Certainly, City Month is not that time and place.”
He said Carnival is a business and he has discussed marketing the product with Mitchell and NCC chairman Winston “Gypsy” Peters.
The French Ambassador attended Saturday’s J’Ouvert celebration and Parris is hoping that visit would bear fruit.
He said a book on the evolution of Carnival and culture of San Fernando, written by convenor of Carnival Dawad Phillip, will be used as a tool to market the city of San Fernando.
He also said he also met with Trinbago Unified Calypso Association (Tuco) president Ainsley King and executive who are seeking assistance to make Calypso Fiesta economically viable.
While Calypso Fiesta is the biggest event in the city, attracting thousands of patrons at Skinner Park, “a lot of it is based on charity.”
Due to dwindling natural resources, Parris said San Fernando can no longer be considered the industrial capital of TT and they must look to alternatives for sustainability.
Being rich in culture, the council has identified tourism, arts, sports and culture as sectors that they want to develop.
He said Manning is passionate about sports.
Parris also acknowledged president of the San Fernando Business Chamber, Daphne Bartlett. He said the business community is supporting the council in ways that they have not been supported in the past.
“In fact, some of our events have been fully sponsored by the business community.
At the awards function, 11 deserving citizens, including three long-serving employees of the corporation, were honoured for their contribution to the development of the city.
Among the employees who received citations were, Heidi Henry (39 years), Bharat Ramkesson (39 years) and Kenneth Williams who retired on City Day, November 18, also his birthday, after serving for 45 years.
Williams recalled when he started to work at the then borough corporation, he would pick up young Parris from San Fernando Boy’s RC, and bring him to the town hall to meet his father, a councillor.
Williams said he was proud that little boy he picked up after school each day is now the leader of the council and pledged his support for all things San Fernando.
“This is where I live. Here is where I love.”
Other recipients included 13-year-old student Omari Bernard, an author who is writing his second book on artificial intelligence, in the sphere of education ,and Claire Boyce for community service.
For culture, Kieron Sargeant, Dane Pierre (Joy Production); NLCB Fonclaire’s CEO Darren Sheppard,; fashion and cultural devotee, Derron Attz; Richard Baker (DJ Black Gold) also received citations.
The late San Fernando businessman Dave Nandlal Tikasingh also received a posthumous award for business.