NEW AMSTERDAM, BERBICE – The activities to observe the New Amsterdam Town Week ended yesterday.
Mayor of New Amsterdam, Claude Henry, described the turnout at both the opening ceremony on Thursday and the actual Street Fair and Exposition on Saturday as good.
However, some residents called the Opening Ceremony of Town Day 2008 a poorly organized one and a disappointment. They were also convinced that the time spent planning the event was too short.
Mayor Henry said that planning for the event began in September, which was early enough. “I think the whole setback was due to the fact that the Berbice Chamber of Commerce, which had asked for the responsibility of organizing the street fair, pulled out a week before the actual event. They sent a letter indicating that they would no longer be responsible for organising the street fair.”
This was a blow, since many of the companies which had already indicated an interest pulled out behind them. “The representatives of some of these companies communicated with us and indicated that the Chamber notified them that they are no longer part and parcel of the activity, so they were pulling out, too.”
Also noticeable was the absence of Government officials from the opening ceremony. “We extended invitations to Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Minister of Local Government, the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, and others, and to the Regional Administration, including the Regional Chairman, and not one of them came.”
He said no reason was given for this.
“The Committee got no word of explanation from any of them. But it did not affect the proceedings in any way. We went on with our Town Day 2008 and it was one of the better ones.”
He commended Dave’s Television Station in New Amsterdam for the live broadcast of the Opening Ceremony on Thursday as well as for its general involvement over the years.
The actual street fair and exposition spanned from Church Street to St. John Street on the Main Road.
Patricia Lynch, Coordinator of the New Amsterdam Town Day Secretariat, said the actual number of booths on display is still to be arrived at, since some persons turned out on the actual day.
Mrs. Lynch described the event as being better than recent years, but the main issue was the lack of generosity. “The Berbice Chamber of Commerce and Development Association gave us $5,000, and this is what we were faced with from many of the places.”
Whatever financial donations were given came after representatives of the Town Day Committee approached and begged business entities.
Touching on what was dubbed a boycott of the opening ceremony by Government officials, the Coordinator said that the event was not only for one set on persons, but for the town as a whole.
“The Prime Minister and other Government officials attended the opening of a private business place in New Amsterdam on Friday, but on Thursday none of them or their representatives found the time to attend the opening of the New Amsterdam Town Day.
“I was trying to reach the Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce since early November, and I was always told, after identifying myself, that he was in a meeting. I sent letters to the Regional Chairman and Regional Executive Officer and others inviting them to and informing them of all the activities. It would appear as though the Town of New Amsterdam is run by one political group and Region Six is run by another.”
“We wrote letters to the Regional Administration seeking permission for the use of the lawns of the State House to host three events, but permission was granted only for one,”
Region Six Chairman, when contacted for comment yesterday, Sunday, said that he was still out of Guyana.
Efforts to contact the President of the Berbice Chamber of Commerce and Development Association, Ramesh Maraj, for a comment were unsuccessful.
Activities to mark Town Week 2008 commenced last Sunday with an environmental walk. On Tuesday, senior citizens were given special treatment, since that day was set aside for them.
On Wednesday, the finals of the Spelling Bee Competition were held at the New Amsterdam Town Hall.
Last Friday evening was the cultural extravaganza at the New Amsterdam Town Hall.
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