A recent survey conducted by the University of Lima raises more questions than providing answers. The numbers are not clear. Although 79.9% of the people questioned in Peru’s capital think that the city has improved under the management of mayor Luis Castañeda Lossio, their perception of the city’s main problems contradict this assessment.
More than half believe that the crime rate is the main problem in Lima followed by the garbage and contamination problem (31.3%) and the disorganized transit (8.3%).
Which raises the question: what are the main duties and responsibilities of the city’s mayor?
Ex-presidential candidate Susana Villarán believes that the citizen’s approval of the municipal management comes without having an exact knowledge of the incumbent tasks of a mayor.
“People think that they (the mayors) are there constructing parks and fixing streets but they don’t know for example that the mayor of Lima is also member of the Citizen Security Council and hasn’t made enough efforts in the fight against crime in the capital”, she said.
Villarán also criticizes the high numbers of traffic accidents on Lima’s highways, including the Pan-American Highway, which is under the control of the municipal company EMAPE.
“More than 800 die every year between Ancón and Mala which is unacceptable. What has Castañeda done to fight this? ”, she questioned.
Limean Municipal Counselor Walter Menchola defends Castañeda’s administration. He maintains that if the city of Lima has not made enough efforts in solving the problems of insecurity it is because it doesn’t have enough legal support.
“The Statutory Law of Municipalities prevents us from controlling the whole city because we cannot neglect the administrative autonomy of other districts”, he explained.
Menchola accepts the survey’s results and considers that the crime rate and citizen security are the main problems in Lima. Nevertheless, he said that if Congress does not review the Statutory Law of Municipalities the Limean government’s hands are tied.
“The city council raised several legislative initiatives in the fight against crime but they were all rejected by Congress. Among them are arresting violators, giving authorization to the Serenazgo (watchmen) for catching delinquents red-handed, and stronger penalties for second offenders”, he explained.
He assured that citizen security is a very important task for him and the Limean council, but also a pending challenge for the new Congress.
According to the survey, many citizens positively acknowledged the restoration of Lima’s Historical Center (67%), the Solidaridad hospitals (75.2%) and road maintenance (80%).
The survey was conducted by the University of Lima on July 1-2, questioning 500 people of Lima and Callao.
(Source: La Republica)