FOUNDING member of the Congress of the People (COP) Navi Muradali was yesterday officially given the title of Mayor of San Fernando.
Muradali promised to meet once a month with past mayors who would have served the city since way back in 1988.
The first mayor, Romesh Mootoo, was one of those in attendance at yesterday's ceremony.
Former mayor Marlene Coudray did not attend.
Her appointment as Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Development led to the vacancy for mayor.
Coudray left the COP and later became the deputy leader of the United National Congress (UNC) during that party's internal election back on March 24.
This caused a stir with leader of the COP Prakash Ramadhar, who made reference to an agreement that a member from his party ought to be the mayor of the City of San Fernando.
Questioned on Coudray's absence from City Hall, San Fernando, yesterday, Muradali said administration was in charge of organising the invitations, but he was aware that invitations were sent to all past mayors.
But during his speech, Muradali thanked Coudray for her work in the post and called for all former mayors to join with him.
"I would like to establish a past mayors' council, comprising of all of the past mayors, to meet with me once per month to share their thoughts, provide advice and, most importantly, to guide with their wisdom on matters relating to the development of the City of San Fernando.... Guidance and wisdom is needed. I will rely on the Minister of Local Government and members of Parliament within the City of San Fernando to guide us."
Muradali also spoke of his plan to tackle the issues of street vending, traffic congestion, security and street dwelling.
"I want to host a two-day workshop within the next couple of months to deal with these complex matters.... I shall invite all business associations, faith-based groups, the police, traffic management and relevant agencies," the new mayor said.
A committee will also be set up to begin planning City celebrations.
Muradali told the audience yesterday he intends to continue the plan to make San Fernando a greener city.
It is a project he had started in the past with the installation of special bins.
"I want to appeal to all San Fernandians to recommit yourself to this city, to work hand in hand with us.... We will continue to meet with residents and address urgent concerns. We will listen more than we speak," Muradali said.
Mootoo, Ramadhar, MP for San Fernando West and Public Administration Minister Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan and new Local Government Minister Suruj Rambachan all offered congratulations to the new mayor.
Rambachan made reference to rifts in the San Fernando City Corporation in recent times and called on Muradali to be the one to make amends.
"Conflicts have hurt the image of the municipality of the City of San Fernando over the last couple of months, and it is now necessary for Dr Muradali and the team of councillors to turn a new page and to rebuild the confidence of the people of San Fernando and, by extension, the national community in the political arm of the corporation," he said.