Profile Of Councillor For Caratal /Tortuga
Councillor Suresh Pooran Maharaj
An Appreciation by Surujrattan Rambachan MP
It was in 2010 three weeks before the General Elections that I first came into contact with Suresh Pooran Maharaj. Suresh had joined my campaign for the general elections and in particular had been accompanying me along with his wife and son in the Bonne Aventure, Forres Park, Tortuga, Macaulay, Caratal and Whiteland/Poonah areas of the Constituency.
What was most noticeable was that he knew everyone by first name and had almost free access to their homes. Everywhere we went he was welcomed with embraces and kisses, this irrespective of class, religion or ethnicity. Undoubtedly he was a favourite, a well-respected and loveable individual by all. It was clear to me that Baba as he is affectionately known had an equal eye for all irrespective of their race, colour or position in life .
What is even more remarkable is his intimate knowledge of people, their problems, their background, their challenges. Intertwined amongst all of this is his compassionate nature. He has a caring attitude towards people and would quickly make their problems his own. I have often seen him restless until he finds a suitable solution to a problem of one of his constituents.
Perhaps the name Baba suits him well. In the Hindu tradition, a Baba is another name for the Pundit who is priest, ritualist and mentor.
As a Councillor Baba takes his job seriously. He has suffered and compromised his own health as a result of his commitment to his “people.” I recall during two medical camps conducted by Dr Rai Ragbir when Baba’s blood pressure was high and his blood sugar level was over 400. The stress from the job of being a Councillor who wants to find immediate solutions to people’s problems affected his health.
Baba has done a good job of representation and of being a service provider. Roads, drains, recreational facilities have all been improved as a result of his representation. Above all he is a harmonizer and works to ensure that people in his areas live peacefully and neighbourly.
As a Councillor, Baba has grown in stature and in his public oratory. About two months ago WASA commissioned the Tulip Water project which has brought about 1,000.000 gallons of water more to the Gasparillo area. Baba spoke at the function and did so without any written notes. He was clear in his thoughts. His words of appreciation were well chosen and articulated. I felt immensely proud of him.
As a representative he has the important quality of patience with his constituents. I have witnessed constituents unfairly abusing him. He does not respond with anger or express any form of distaste. He remains calm, gives the person an opportunity to vent and then pacifies with an apology for what the person is experiencing. In this way he demonstrates a rare level of interpersonal skills and good human relations.
Baba is equally at home whether he is at a Hindu pooja, a Christian prayer meeting or an Islamic function. He sees all religions as leading to the same goal. His main challenge as A Councillor is the repairs to Howsa Trace and the repairs to the bridges in Lightbourne. In these challenges, I am with him as the MP. His area has seen vast improvements under the People’s Partnership. Today you can drive from Fores Park to Bonne Aventure through Lightbourne in ten minutes. These roads had not been repaired for up to sixty years.
Councillor Suresh Pooran Maharaj affectionately called baba is a credit to the profession of a Councillor and a great credit to the People’s Partnership Government.
Incidentally, his greatest weakness (or you may say strength) is his inability to say “No” to any Constituent. His greatest strength is his belief that he will find a way to meet their needs.