OUR COVER STORY by PETER GREEN
A team led by Louis Lee Sing will be fighting the 12 seats in the Port of Spain City Corporation Local Government elections which are due later this year. Of the 12 seats, our source has revealed, Louis expects to win 9 and with that, he should, once again, be able to control the affairs of the Corporation. Lee Sing became Mayor of Port of Spain in 2010 following the PP Government’s almost clean sweep in Local Government elections that year.
However, from the outset of his appointment as Mayor, one thing was certain. Louis Lee Sing was his own man. This irked his Political Leader, Dr Keith Rowley, who complained very often to those willing to listen that Louis was not reporting to him on any matter. It was, therefore, no surprise when Lee Sing, a member of the PNM’s General Council, clashed with Rowley and the Party Chairman on several occasions both inside and outside of Balisier House.
Incidentally, in a letter to the Express newspaper dated 26th March 2014, Lee Sing is quoted as saying, “ Balisier House has been repainted in red, white and black, in a not so subtle effort to rebrand the party in the national image, colours which are not the official colours of the party. Yet none of the official decision-making mechanisms of the Party appear to have been consulted far less been informed of the decision or the thinking behind it…………..perhaps the Political Leadership would care to explain how a former UNC Senator and fundraiser has now become a valued member of Dr Rowley’s inner circle and a key fundraiser – which funds do not pass through the party!”
Critical of Rowley’s leadership
In further letters to the Express, Lee Sing was very critical of Rowley’s leadership and questioned the true status of “Rowley’s band of yes men who believe that they could fool not only some of the people but indeed all of the people – all of the time.” He was also very angry that Rowley had failed to meet all 41 constituencies after some 42 months as Political Leader and that in four years the General Council and the Central Executive had only met four times.
The breaking point for Lee Sing, however, was when Marlene McDonald had been successfully screened to be the candidate for Port of Spain South. He felt that Marlene had too many questions of impropriety to answer and he expressed his disgust and promptly resigned from the PNM – the party of which he had been a member for over forty-six years, far longer than Rowley or any of the present-day highfalutin members had ever served. Lee Sing had joined the PNM at the age of 14 and resigned from the Party at the age of 60.
Many believe that should Louis’ party win the election he will make a great Mayor for Port of Spain, if only from his achievements during his first term in office.
Lee Sing’s achievements
As Mayor he was responsible for the eradication of 3000 outdoor latrines from parts of Port of Spain; the refurbishing of King George V Park where today hundreds can be seen exercising especially at nights; new compactors for garbage collection; institutionalized training for employees of the Corporation and a host of other initiatives. His greatest possible achievement, which was never realised, was the creation of a new traffic plan for the city of Port of Spain which plan was blocked by vested interests but which is still relevant up to today.
The $6m community centre which he had started at Desperly Crescent in Laventille – a PNM stronghold – remains unfinished after six years. He expressed his pain that “East Port of Spain is decaying” and he had outlined plans to turn the homes of East Port of Spain residents into businesses as part of a campaign “to move his burgesses out of a life of crime and poverty into one of entrepreneurship.”
However, this dream was never realised because he was not reappointed as Mayor by Rowley. In his place was Raymond Tim Kee and then Valentine, each of whom served only for one term having fallen from grace under Rowley.
Should Lee Sing be successful in his bid to unseat the PNM in Port of Spain – which has never happened in the history of elections of the City Corporation – then he will not only achieve what has never been achieved before but his model may very well be the trailblazer for the General