Antwerp Under The Administration of Mayor Bart De Wever

Could Bart De Wever be the best mayor of Antwerp?

The major of Antwerp, Bart De Wever and writer Joel Savage

The Mayor of Antwerp, Bart De Wever and the writer, Joel Savage. Photo:@Kouablan Dominique.

Not quite long in Belgium, but fifteen years in Antwerp is enough to write a narrative essay, whenever I meet this challenge at an examination hall. Even though Antwerp is a famous city, known for its rich diamond collection and flourishing seaport, in the early 2000’s, the city was very rough and unsafe for both tourists and citizens.

It was this period Leona Detiége, a Belgian politician and member of the Flemish social-democratic party, then mayor of Antwerp, did her best to tackle the problems destroying the reputation of the city of Antwerp, as a tourist attraction center.

She swung into action, focusing on the notorious places, such as De Conincksplein, a neighbourhood that harboured all criminal activities, including drug peddling, prostitution, bag snatching, pickpockets, pimps etc, and De Falconplein, another notorious neighbourhood, serving as a red light district for prostitutes, pimps, and drug couriers.

Her undertakings weren’t just a bluff, it did really paralyzed the prostitution industry. Many prostitutes were arrested and deported to their countries of origin and the pimp industry collapsed. The Antwerp police received a letter from a group calling themselves ‘The Nigerian Mafia,’ threatening and ready to fight the police to death, for taking their prostitutes off the streets.

Leona stationed a mobile police van at the center of Conincksplein 24 hours daily, and all the nefarious activities and crimes subsided. Apart from that Leona made it uneasy for landlords that stole money from tenants. It was a period, criminal-landlords was known as ‘huismelkers’ were making a lot of money from tenants. Like a farmer milking his cow, they steal the three months guarantee paid by tenants. Her actions worked and totally reduced this menace which had taken over Antwerp.

Unfortunately, all the hard efforts of Leona came to a fruitless end, when she left office and Patrick Janssens, a member of the SP.a, succeeded her, as the next mayor of Antwerp. Patrick Janssens probably thought the best way to serve Antwerp, is be friendly with everyone. It was his time drug peddling, which Leona had fought to subdue, increased significantly.

There was time, Moroccans in Antwerp, believe or thought the city is for them. They drive, stop on the street, talk to friends, with a long queue of traffic behind them. Who dares to talk? You will be surrounded and if the police are not around, you will be beaten mercilessly.

At Schijnpoort, a neighbourhood in Antwerp, a Belgium driving, stops and asks a Moroccan for help, as he couldn’t find a street he was looking for. As soon as his window came down, right in front of me, the Moroccan accumulated a thick saliva in his mouth and spits onto the face of the driver. He picks up a tissue paper, wipes the saliva from his face and drove away. My heart ached when I witnessed this scene.

Under the administration of Patrick Janssens,   the situation in Antwerp grew from bad to worse. More drug trafficking at coffee shops run by foreigners. By the time he decides to take drastic action, it was too late. The people in Antwerp are fed up and really want a change.

I will always remember Patrick Janssens for saving the citizens of Antwerp from dog’s waste explosion. It was a period one always comes home with a dog’s waste because they are everywhere. He did well to impose a fine against dog owners that leave dogs’ waste in the city after excretion.

The coming in of  Bart De Wever, the leader of N-VA party, as the mayor of Antwerp, took many by surprise. As a politician who has dreams including the creation of an independent state for the province of Antwerp, many don’t like him much, but that didn’t prevent him from winning the seat as mayor of Antwerp.

The man knows that coming into office as a mayor is not all that is important but one’s achievement. De Wever is destined to carve his name as one of the best or probably the best mayor in the political history of Belgium. Since he assumed office, De Wever has done a lot within the shortest period many past mayors couldn’t achieve.

In regard to security and safety, Antwerp is now a safe city any time of the day, including night. Conincksplein, which used to be a dangerous place in Antwerp, is now a safe community for citizens.

The newly completed library adds glamour to the beauty of the area. Antwerp also remains clean since the administration introduced fine for litterers. Alcohol forbidden zones are now in force within the city.

Despite all his achievements, many still don’t agree with him. Some say he is a good man or bad man, others think he is wicked, but whatever name they call him, there is no doubt that Bart De Wever is the best mayor Antwerp has ever got or probably the best in the political history of Belgium.

Street Children: Is Bringing Up A Child Tougher Than Child Delivery?

Child 2

It is only a woman that can tell the pain she goes through during child delivery. Some women take rings off from finger to throw at husbands, because of the pain they go through during childbirth. After delivery, they take back the ring and put on the finger again. Giving birth to a child isn’t easy, yet there are so many motherless and fatherless children roaming the streets, especially in Third World Countries, including Africa.

If one does not really need a child, why should parents bring them into the world to suffer? Training and caring for children, in terms of feeding, clothing, education and health care, have never been a simple task. It is better for parents to prevent an unwanted pregnancy than to give birth to a child to become a menace to society. How can a child learn how to read when he or she is far from the classroom?

An Eastern University in America conducted a study on the impact made on children by various forces in the society. The study revealed that 31 percent of the influence on a child was attributed to his years, 16 percent came from his school and other organizations. While 53 percent of the impact on his life came from his home.

The duty of bringing up a child is surely the toughest task in the world and quite frankly, it takes knowledge and wisdom to raise up a child. The inability of parents to take proper care of their children has caused many children roaming the streets. The neglected children sometimes grow up to be juvenile criminals and delinquents.

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One of the roots to lack of reading in Africa is child labor

Parents that did not get the opportunity to be educated, may feel education is a waste of time, and therefore the child should be engaged in parents trade. In Africa and Asia, hundreds of children are said to be under bondage, working as slaves to defray the debts of their parents. Under some hardships, children are even forced to sell part of their body parts, such as kidney, to raise money for their parents.

In Brazil, children are sprayed by bullets, for the government to come and carry the dead youths from the street to reduce the child menace population. Is this a logical way to help a country to reduce street-child explosion? It shouldn’t be a sort of embarrassment to Africans when someone says that “The reading standard in Africa is poor.” It should rather be a challenge to us to remove that illiteracy affecting the growing children.

When children are thought how to read from the initial stages, they become interested in books. However poor a child’s reading ability is, his interest in reading would improve his knowledge. Things go wrong for children these days like people don’t know their value in this world. The world must help together with the United Nations to alleviate them from slavery, poverty, and oppression, for they are assets to national development.

Child 4

Another problem which has triggered lack of reading among children in Africa is ‘Child Soldier.’