Among the strengths and virtues that stand out in Barranquilla about Jaime Pumarejo Heins, the new mayor of the city, are youth, academic preparation and experience in public positions, in which he served successfully.
This experience in public affairs was acquired alongside Elsa Noguera De la Espriella and Alejandro Char Chaljub, mayors of Barranquilla, the latter his political mentor, who has been administering the capital of Atlántico for 12 years (three consecutive periods Char-Noguera-Char), a turn that now falls to the young Pumarejo.
For Ferney Rodríguez, the researcher at the Simón Bolívar University, Jaime Pumarejo’s victory is the product of a range of strengths that accompany him, among which is selling an electoral proposal of continuity, “which enjoys legitimacy and acceptance.” on the part of the electorate, due to the good performances of the last three district administrations, in which he was key,” he maintains.
Pumarejo, 38 years old – his birthday will be next November 21, meaning that on the day he takes office he will be 39 years old – he graduated in Information Systems Management from Purdue University, in Indiana (United States), with a master’s degree. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance from the Madrid Business Institute (Spain).
His resume highlights his work in positions in the United States and Singapore thanks to the Young Executive Leadership Development program of the multinational Ingersoll Rand.
His political career in Barranquilla began with Mayor Alejandro Char, with whom he has worked for 12 years on the District’s transformation and development policies, which is why he is not bothered when asked if he is part of the continuity.
He was advisor for competitiveness in Char’s first administration. He took charge of the harmful concessions that were bleeding the District dry. He was also Secretary of Mobility of Barranquilla, from where he waged a strong fight against motorcycle taxis. He was also general manager of the Puerta de Oro Caribbean Events Center, and city development manager where he was in charge of high-impact projects such as the construction of parks and canalization of streams, among others.
From the District he is recognized for having coordinated emblematic projects of the city such as the Great Malecón of the Magdalena River and the infrastructure of the Central American and Caribbean Games. He was there until 2017 when he was appointed Minister of Housing of President Juan Manuel Santos.
A man with political caste
Jaime Pumarejo was born in Barranquilla on November 21, 1980, he is the son of Ingeborg Heins and the former mayor of Barranquilla Jaime Pumarejo Certain, an engineer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who promoted the development of important works in Barranquilla as a councilor and then as the first Mayor that this capital had by popular election (1988 -1989).
His grandfather was Alberto Pumarejo Vengoechea, former Minister of State, ambassador, governor of Atlántico and mayor of Barranquilla, in whose honor the bridge over the Magdalena River was named.
The new mayor of Barranquilla says that he spent more than a year in the streets, talking to people and touring the neighborhoods, to soak up the people’s voices about the city’s problems and thus begin to design the plan he has for the next four years for the people of Barranquilla.
Like his father and grandfather, he has shown great interest in the issues of development and planning of large works for Barranquilla.
Those who know him assure that he is not shy, conceited or a know-it-all, as some sectors want to show him. “He is discreet and hides behind that apparent coldness a warm boy, open to dialogue, friendly and always in good humor,” says veteran political journalist Rafael Sarmiento Coley.
Jaime Pumarejo Heins, in addition to promising to continue with Alejandro Char’s successful programs, such as pavements, channeling of streams, construction and improvements of parks, avenues, schools and hospitals, has his letters focused on three initiatives, on which he placed great emphasis in his last days of the campaign.
They are about the river bus project, a new transportation system that will travel along the Magdalena River. and that will connect the center to the north to Barranquilla via river.
It will also bet on the recovery of the Ciénaga de Mallorquín, a body of water that is dying due to pollution and the invasion of its banks.
Finally, there is that of returning the Barranquilla residents to their own beach: Puerto Mocho, an inlet that is abandoned as a result of the lack of access roads and the offer of tourist services, an infrastructure that the new mayor intends to put into service.
Under the magnifying glass of experts
Political scientist Carlos Guzmán thinks that despite the important advances and developments observed in the city in recent years, Jaime Pumarejo as mayor of Barranquilla should emphasize more on social investment. And here he highlights issues related to family, children and youth as priorities, which: “must be a fundamental focus in the Development Plan.”
Likewise, he thinks that another issue that cannot be left aside is citizen security, “recognized, by all Barranquilla residents, as one of the main problems of the city, which must be the object of study and design of public policies to be implemented.”
The research professor at the Universidad del Norte, Luis Trejo, emphasizes that, like citizen security, challenges await the young mayor in mobility, growing labor informality, the terrible provision of electric energy service and “the social discontent that produces social inequality.”
There are also the observations of Professor Guiseppe Damato, a social researcher at the Sergio Arboleda University, when pointing out the occupation of public space by informal commerce and by an impoverished stream of Venezuelan migrants, as a major city problem.
“The case of the Venezuelan community requires an urgent containment measure to address the conflicts that have arisen in recent years (criminal acts, prostitution, high birth rate, increase in informal work) added to health and public health policies that allow timely and effective care for the members of that community”he emphasizes.
Finally, Professor Ferney Rodríguez highlights that among Pumarejo’s weaknesses, its youth stands out, “not because young people do not have political aspiration rights, but because of what it means to administer a city like Barranquilla, with a robust budget and clientelist practices. that has historically besieged the public sector and political culture.”
That is why the academic proposes that beyond the weakness of the youth of Pumarejo, the new administration must face new challenges, which involve responding to a new local government policy, “but not from the execution of public works like previous administrations, but with a vision that responds to structural problems that afflict the city of Barranquilla, such as poverty in some sectors, and the broad levels of inequality with the new Barranquilla that is being created.” building”he points out.