CaribWorldNews, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. June 19, 2009: He`s held the seat for the past eight years, but with his vote against ending term limits and amidst allegations that a former chief of staff embezzled funds, several Caribbean and Caribbean Americans in New York are lining up to try to replace him.
Vincentian-born Councilman, Kendall Stewart, who represents the heavily Caribbean-populated 45th Councilmatic district in Brooklyn, NY, is up for re-election this November. But come September 15th, he may face competition from several challengers for the post.
On Saturday, June 13th, four of those challengers gathered at the Whatz Up Tv debate series, `Rumble In Da Hood,` to take on Stewart. Stewart told the audience, which at times tried to speak over him, that he voted to extend term limits because the law `takes away power from black people.`
He also denied that Asquith Reid and Joycinth (Sue) Anderson worked for him at the time they allegedly embezzled more than $145,000 in public funds. Instead, he said the two were running a community-based organization and as such, had nothing to do with how his office was run.
The Brooklyn forum, held at the Inkwell Café and moderated by CaribWorldNews` Felicia Persaud, saw challengers Jamaicans, Dexter McKenzie and Rodrick Daley, Guyanese Earlene King and Caribbean American Jumanee Williams, question Stewart`s record and his presence in the district.
Missing from the list was Barbadian Sam Taitt, who is again running for the post, and attorney Terry Hinds. But Daley and King hammered Stewart on his record, especially on his failure in the past to support the re-naming of a portion of Church Avenue, Bob Marley Boulevard.
Daley insisted that Stewart did not initially support the measure since he felt organizers did not come to him `first,` but Stewart insisted the plan did not get the approval early on of the Marley family and he is now working to get the entire street renamed in honor of the singer.
Stewart for his part also warned his challengers that learning government takes two years and he feels he is in a better position, having served two terms to really deliver for his constituents.
For their part, the challengers gathered at the debate denounced the claim as foolish with King asserting she is more than qualified since she is currently picking up the slack for the incumbent in many areas in the district where he is a no-show.
The 45th district in Brooklyn includes Flatbush, East Flatbush and Flatlands. It is an area where crime is high, foreclosure and immigration issues are hot button topics and gun violence and the HIV/AIDS rates are spiralling.