On Thursday, 13 October, two wards will be going to the polls in by-elections due to councillor vacancies created by different reasons in both wards. With this being a time, when voters can either maintain the status quo or usher in a change of sorts. Especially with the fact that Lewisham Council is completely dominated by one party; as there are 53 Labour councillors and only one Green Party councillor making up the “opposition”.
One thing that is also well-known is that Evelyn Ward is technically a Labour safe seat! And with their candidate, Joyce Jacca, a well-known local, resident in the ward, there is a great chance she will get elected.
There have been a lot of complaints from locals concerning the current Labour councillors as well as the late councillor Crada Onuegbu who was unable to perform most of her duties for the last few years due to the serious illness that unfortunately did claim her life.
One, therefore wonders if this would be the time that things would go in a different direction. With either the Independent, Scott Barkwith, also an Evelyn Ward resident, an active member of DeptfordFolk (the Friends of Deptford Park & Folkestone Gardens group) and recently a very vocal participant at the Evelyn Assembly meetings.
Or it could be one of the other activists, Andrea Carey Fuller, the Green Party candidate, who is also Secretary of Deptford Neighbourhood Action, the group working on a Deptford Neighbourhood Plan.
Another activist known locally is the Lewisham People Before Profit candidate, Ray Barron-Woolford.
As for the Conservative and Liberal Democrat candidates, James Clark and Lucy Salek respectively, I am not aware of them being active in local issues in Evelyn ward before this time.
What is interesting is the fact that Lucy Salek, the Lib Dem, raises the Millwall land grab situation as if it is an Evelyn ward issue, despite the fact that the Den is actually in New Cross ward.
In Brockley, there has been a Green Party Councillor representing the ward for some time. Initially, Darren Johnson, when I first started this publication in its original incarnation, and now, the only non-Labour councillor, John Coughlin.
Would be interesting to see if another Green would be voted in or if Labour will retain the seat.
As I have stated before, I believe it makes more sense that a councillor lives or is at least active in the ward the wish to represent. Not just prior to the elections but over a number of years. As this would mean that they are immersed in the community and are conversant with the issues faced by that community.
And I do admit I am not a big fan of political parties, as I feel that it causes a councillor to have divided loyalties i.e. between the needs of the constituents and the demands of the party.
So for me as an Evelyn ward resident, who actually knows the four candidates active in the area, it does make for an interesting challenge picking out who I will be voting for.
I only hope that the best person wins tomorrow and truly stands for the needs of the community they are to represent.