NATION

Kumar Fast-Tracks Changes

Parveen Kumar is living testimony of the power of youthful impact on a municipality. The Minister for Local Government, Housing and Environment, in his maiden speech in Parliament, recounted his
15 Oct 2014 09:08
Kumar Fast-Tracks Changes
Local Government Minister Praveen Kumar (left), with Opposition member Ratu Suliano Matanitobua. Both made their maiden speech in Parliament yesterday. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Parveen Kumar is living testimony of the power of youthful impact on a municipality. The Minister for Local Government, Housing and Environment, in his maiden speech in Parliament, recounted his own personal journey.

“In October 1997, almost to the day this month 17 years ago, I was elected as the youngest mayor of Ba. Many doubted my capability for the position and youth for once, was not given its due as an advantage,’’ he said.

However,  inspiring words from former Minister for Local Government Vilisoni Cagimaivei helped him overcome obstacles in the early part of his career.  In his letter to Mr Kumar, the Minister urged him to “be humble and respect all people. Rise above pettiness, believe in, and work together with your councillors and staff.”

Mr Kumar said he took these words to heart and used them as guiding principles for his work.

“It also provided me the opportunity to serve as Mayor of Ba for 12 consecutive terms. I believe this long innings at the helm of local government was also testimony to my commitment on a sustained basis to the people,’’ he said.

Mr Kumar intends to focus on several key areas during his time in the ministry:

– streamline local government regulations to favour economic development

– work with different stakeholders, including industry groups to bring in best practices

– fast-track construction of centres for women market vendors in Nausori, Labasa and Savusavu

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