Region 6 Mash politicized – Former N/A Mayor
Region 6 RDC and Committee disagree over flag-raising
Former Mayor of New Amsterdam, Errol Alphonso has stated that Mash celebrations in Region Six have become politicized over the past years. He was addressing press members at the Penguin Hotel last Thursday.
He stated that there seems to be a political agenda afoot, but all the N/A Mash Committee is concerned about is “getting our people out to celebrate the Republic and Mashramani”.
“It is unfortunate that since 1992, the Mash celebrations in Guyana have been politicized and ‘bastardised’ and the true concept of the situation is ignored to political point- scoring”. While the Regional Administration set the night of the 22nd for the flag- raising ceremony, Alphonso clearly disagreed with the decision since it was, for him, a break from the traditional ceremony on the morning of the 23rd.
Alphonso said that they would not be allowed to have a candle- light parade (since no permission was granted) “but those that want to go to the PPP colony of State House in N/A for the flag- raising that was not normally at midnight (on the 22nd) but which was on the 23rd morning, but because the Mash committee of N/A decided to return to the original, the traditional and suddenly it is midnight…..who want go there, let them go there.”
He said that they (the N/A Mash Committee) will be having a candle light vigil in Chapel Street.
“You can’t have two flag- raising ceremonies… “ “I ain’t like no flag- raising because it is totally politicized…I will be at the prayer vigil…kill me if you want and that is easy in Guyana but I refuse to continue my life observing incompetence!”
Alphonso was critical of the Regional Administration’s “Mash Last- lap Tramp” down Main Street usually held on the Sunday after the Georgetown celebrations. There seems to be some disunity brewing between the Region 6 Administration and the N/A Mash Committee.
“We have veered away from the intrinsic value of the nationalistic, patriotic, historical content of Republic celebrations….we are not in competition with the Regional effort which happens on the Sunday after the 23rd (February)….that has lost any serious content of nationalistic, patriotic, historical fervor”.
He stated that what “we get on the Sunday after Georgetown is the remnants, the tatters of costumes, and the corporations and ministries and so on– the government pump a lot of money and they come up to New Amsterdam for a big ‘wash down’, a big Bacchanal, right, and they sport up we girls and so and then they go back to Georgetown.”
While stating that nothing is wrong with those kinds of celebrations, he noted that the main ideas of Mash are the historical, nationalistic and patriotic celebrations.
He noted that he has made contact with the National Communications Network (NCN) and was promised airtime on radio to promote the Mash events in Berbice. He said that he hopes that she would be “doing other things for the television (aspect) and that “NCN is not a political media…NCN is all a we own! NCN is not Jaffar (Faizal Jaffarally) own! It is all a we own! You get my drift?”
Alphonso is a patron of this year’s celebrations in the town and is working closely with the N/A Mash Committee to run off the activities.
Alphonso, who was Mayor of New Amsterdam from the nineties, up to 2000, was virtually silent on many issues, up to last Thursday when he blew his fuse and spoke his mind. The Region Six Administration, a Bank Manager in the town, NCN Berbice Coordinator, even the Mayor & Town Council of New Amsterdam came in for verbal blows.
John Fernandes Ltd has contributed $200,000 to the committee while Attorney-at-Law Lloyd Thomas donated $20,000. He also revealed that another individual donated $22,000 and Alphonso and Sons contributed $100,000 towards Mash.
“POLITRICKS PLAYING OUT”
He stated that the committee sent out letters to various organizations and businesses “but the politricks playing out”. Alphonso stated that the Head of the N/A Chambers of Commerce, Mr. Imran Sacoor, is “the politician’s banker/manager of the Republic Bank branch in New Amsterdam, and he has said that they do not participate in floats at all, bank policy, but then we hearing that the bank promoted by him is joining forces with CGX to have a float out in G/T..so you see the inconsistency, so our little effort in N/A doesn’t have a hope in hell of getting support of Imran Sacoor– the politician/banker/manager and a letter is being fired today to his Head Office and they may wish to act on his advice or not!”
“Even the uniform forces playing politricks– even the uniform forces!”
He alluded to the fact that since two Fridays ago, a request was made to use a public address system on the road and sound to advertise Mash in N/A and everything was deferred to a meeting days after with the ‘B’ Division Commander. “How that could work? This is not a poo-poo village..this town is perhaps older than the city of G/T”, he added.
When contacted, Regional Chairman of Region 6, Mr. David Armogan stated that his RDC met with the N/A Mash Committee and agreed on several issues including the holding of one flag- raising ceremony and the candle- light parade through the town on the eve of Mash day. He said that the intention was to bring some unity between the RDC and N/A Mayor and Town Council as well as the Mash Committee and expressed regrets that the committee and the patron (Alphonso) still felt that things were not going smoothly. “It does not augur well for the development of the region”. Armogan noted too that for years the flag- raising ceremony was held on the day of the 23rd and that for a change, he thought it would be fitting to have it on the eve and does not understand why Alphonso has disagreed with that decision. He said that it would seem that Alphonso “is making a pitch” once again for mayor of the town and that this would explain where the entire rancor is coming from.
It is left to be seen what really will transpire on the evening of the 22nd and if the flag- raising ceremony at State House will receive full participation and attendance from the N/A Mash Committee.