Sustainable Urbanisation Advocate – Allan PollardJune 30th, 2022
Allan Pollard is the youngest elected city councillor of Belize. He is also on the steering committee of the Commonwealth Youth for Sustainable Urbanisation Network(CYSU) and recently represented the network at the largest meetings of young people across the commonwealth, the Commonwealth Youth Forum.
After the forum, Allan shared a glimpse of his life and work with 28-year-old Commonwealth Correspondent from Pakistan, Samara Ali.
Could you tell us a little bit about your personal journey and what led you to this commitment with the Commonwealth Youth for Sustainable Urbanisation Network?
I became an advocate for sustainable urbanisation only recently because of my work with the Belize City Council. I started working in politics when I was 23 years old and got elected at the age of 24. In my first term, I was a city councillor with responsibility for traffic, public relations and special events.
In my second term, I worked in infrastructure and urban development. This appointment opened my eyes to the issues and challenges in infrastructure development not only in Belize but worldwide and introduced me to the concept of sustainable urbanisation. Through sustainable urbanisation we are able to improve our cities while limiting the negative environmental and social impacts of urbanisation. In this way we can tackle the challenges we face today without compromising the future of younger generations.
My work at the municipality was perfectly aligned with the purpose of CYSU. It was just God’s timing that I was invited by the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) to be a part of the CYSU’s steering committee along with other youth leaders. So far it has been an exhilarating experience working with a great team of young people in the network who are so engaged in solving problems and creating a better future.
Did you always know that you wanted to work in politics and how do you feel about the responsibility you have?
When I was in school, I had no idea what I wanted to be so I pursued general studies. I then went into entrepreneurship. In 2016, I started my own company, Supreme Automotive Belize as I was fascinated with vehicles. When I entered politics it felt random at first, but once I delved into it, it all fell into place. I am passionate about it. The responsibility isn’t a burden but rather a source of inspiration.
What have been some rewarding moments for you on the Belize City Council?
Receiving positive feedback from residents has been the most rewarding. In urban centres you have a lot of issues like crime and violence so for individuals to say that they’re inspired by my work, it feels like I am doing God’s work. It is also encouraging when other young people tell me they look up to me.
What are the biggest challenges you faced as Deputy Mayor for Belize City Council?
There are two sides to the answer for this question – the biggest challenge as a Deputy Mayor, and the biggest challenge as a 27-year-old Deputy Mayor. As Deputy Mayor, one of the major challenges is finding the balance. There are requests from voters who need specific work done, but I have to keep in mind the vision I have and the change I want to see in the city.
What is your advice to young people who may be considering serving in public life?
Life is what you make of it and my passion is to make a lasting impact. I think that’s what we need to aspire to as young people. I’m looking forward to making a difference as a part of this network through execution. At our next youth forum, we should not only be discussing plans but also the lasting impact we made, and what truly changed.
Photo Credit: Allan Pollard/ Belize City Council
About the correspondent: Samara Ali is a business graduate from Pakistan who loves to discuss ideas and achievements that can create cultural change around the world, in any magnitude.