Saturday, August 19, 2017

Taking the High Road

Saturday, February 11, 2017, 16:16
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By: Kevin Bernard   It is unfortunate that the Orange Walk Town Council has been dragged into a seedy back and forth with the UDP Area Representative for Orange Walk East, Elodio Aragon Jr. Now that Aragon has woken up from his long slumber and is making untrue allegations against me as Mayor and against the good people at the OWTC, I thought it important to share a few words which I hope will remind him of his negligence, and his obligations.   Without the assistance of Central Government, the Orange Walk Town Council has carried out an intensive works program. That is a fact. With the assistance of individuals and corporate entities in the community, we have paved 35 streets, cemented 8 intersections and completed 5 major drainage projects and 13 vehicle entrances on Santa Familia Street. We have also seen the complete renovation of the Central Park, turning it into a secure, safe zone for families. We are proud of our record, which includes restoring transparency and accountability to Town Hall so that residents know exactly how their tax dollars and contributions are being used.   I can also assure Mr. Aragon that here at the Council, where two members of our team are UDP-affiliated…we do not play politics when it comes to serving all residents. We are elected to serve all residents of this town to the best of our abilities and I believe that we have been able to do just that.   Mr. Aragon chose to take it personally when the OWTC moved its scope of works into the Orange Walk East constituency. I find that ridiculous because a significant portion of that constituency lies within our jurisdiction. It was not our intention to shame him or to point out his inadequacies, because at the end of the day the people of that constituency will judge his performance, or lack thereof. I believe that he reacted out of a sense of shame, since he has been missing in the area since after the elections. The only bit of work he did just before elections to woo the people of that area, the paving of a section of Liberty Avenue, has long since broken up. It did not even last 4 months.   Mr. Aragon’s hurried move to get the Ministry of Works to do some substandard, very temporary work in the area backfired on him. That is not the fault of Ministry of Works’ personnel. It is Mr. Aragon’s fault. Faced with the reality that the OWTC was coming into the area to pave streets, he decided to make a show to fool the people into thinking that he was actually working in the area. I find that despicable.   Let me be quite clear. With very little resources, we have managed to do much and WE DO IT PROPERLY. We do not pave streets only to have them break up weeks after. Works of that type require planning and preparation, something Mr. Aragon apparently never considered. Here at the OWTC we are not into games. Tricks are for kids. If Mr. Aragon genuinely wanted to help the people of his constituency, I speak for myself and the Council when I say we have absolutely no problem with that. We would welcome it.   What we absolutely do not welcome, and will not entertain, is the use of the people’s money to do work which will last weeks or months, work not done properly. Apart from the wastage of that money (not Mr. Aragon’s money but the people’s money), the OWTC will have to come right behind and pump more resources into fixing the mess left behind, as is the case with Mr. Aragon’s legacy from November 2015, Liberty Avenue.   My advice to Mr. Aragon, and I deliver it with all sincerity and due respect, is that if he does not intend to do quality work in the area, he would do well to just step aside and allow us to deliver good service to the people of Orange Walk East. This isn’t the time for games and political antics. We are here to serve.
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