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.

The Honey Trap

Charm 2

Once a detective sergeant with the MET, Jonas Brock aims to rebuild his life. Having been investigated and arrested by his colleague, a bright young officer named Donovan Quinn; Jonas served five years in HMP Belmarsh for taking backhanders and protecting prostitutes.

After his release, Jonas becomes a private detective in his hometown of Abbey Wood, and having investigated nothing more than cheating lovers for vulnerable clients, he finally lands the case that he has been waiting for; stolen evidence files for one of the largest fraud cases that the city has ever seen.

With the help of Selena, the young prostitute that he has protected for over ten years, Jonas must put his mistakes behind him and focus his mind on solving crimes once again

The Author

Charm 4

DJ Priddle was born and brought up the Isle of Wight and studied Music Performance, through the University of Chichester. After finishing education, he spent an ‘idyllic’ 10 years working as a vocalist in various bands, travelling the length and bredth of the United Kingdom. Happening upon the “right place, right time” scenario, DJ was lucky enough to gain work for both the BBC and ITV, singing, acting and performing on children’s television.

Having discussed with a friend his secret love of writing that stemmed back to his imaginative youth, DJ was asked to put together a few short press releases for an independent PR company. With his love of writing, very much out in the open, DJ set about searching for all his old stories. Finding a large tatty box in the roof of his parent’s house, DJ began the lengthy process of sorting and editing. It was not long before he was sat in front of his computer with an idea forming in his head.

Having convinced his wife, Sarah, that this was not just another idea, that would soon be lying malformed in the gutter of his mind, alongside the ‘revolving fish tank’ that he was promising to build, and the Japanese bog garden that up to now is only part designed, DJ dedicated time to the craft, and began to learn the skill of fiction writing.

The Honey Trap, the first novel by DJ Priddle, was an amalgamation of the ideas and characters from his younger mind, a fast-paced pulp fiction story based on many of the films and TV shows that he had enjoyed as a teen. It was this writing journey that persuaded DJ to embrace the dark dystopian themes forming in his mind, and push them out onto the page through the eyes and feelings of Jonas Brock.

DJ says, “As his life, ideas and feelings grow in my mind, Jonas has carved out his own tiny part of my history. His relationships, friends and enemies arrive fully formed, in my mind on a daily basis, making him (if only to me) a moody but memorable detective.”

DJ Priddle continues to perform regularly in bands, and now presents a Sunday morning show on local radio.