The Linden Mayor and Town Council (LMTC) is on a mission to sensitise primary school students across Linden on local governance and the various roles and responsibilities needed for the system to work. The programme is targeting Grade Six students and is completely knowledge-based.
Interactive sessions with Mayor of Linden Waneka Arindell and Public Relations Officer of LMTC Tiffany Stoll have been conducted at the Royal Halls of Learning, Watooka Day School, One Mile and Mackenzie Primary Schools. Mayor Arindell said that all primary schools in Linden as well as the Bamia Primary School on the Linden/Soesdyke Highway will be targeted.
The discussions are delivered in two parts and include talks on the roles and responsibilities of the elected local government officials. The officials include the Mayor, Councillors and Administration as was well as the residents of the municipality. It aims at stimulating the young minds on what local governance involves and how they too can play a role in the development of their township.
The sessions are also aimed at strengthening leadership roles within the school system. Role plays are performed by the students to practise what they have learnt. The programme began on June 19 and is expected to last three weeks.
Mayor of Linden Waneka Arindell described the support from the Education Department and teachers as well as the response from the students as overwhelming.
“It has been good so far, the discussions were interactive, they were taught how residents of the township have the responsibility of paying rates and taxes and how the council has the responsibility of garbage collection and so forth…. the response was wonderful, I was moved by the questions they have asked; we left our phone numbers as well.”
The Mayor said that they have already been receiving calls from the students sharing their concerns on roads within their communities and other issues. The local governance sensitisation programme runs in tandem with the Junior Mayor programme which targets secondary schools.
The programmes were initiated to train youths from the school level because following the 2016 Local Government Elections, officials realised that students were not fully knowledgeable about the system and what it entails. The aim is to address this shortfall since Local Government Elections will be held at the end of the year.
By: Vanessa Braithwaite