Minister of Local Govern-ment and Regional Develop-ment Norman Whittaker has handed over a garbage truck to New Amsterdam, which is currently celebrating its 120th anniversary.
Whittaker lauded New Amsterdam for being organized and for setting an example of how people can work together despite political differences.
The minister said the compactor truck is not for the town council, but rather for the people of New Amster-dam and added that similar donations will be made to other municipalities and large Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs).
While he noted that the annual subvention of $65 million being expended on the six municipalities is insufficient, the minister said any increase would be tied to performance. “NDCs and municipalities will have to help themselves through the collection of taxes and various fees,” he said, adding that many of these bodies were underperforming.
He said if these bodies do not deliver, citizens will use that as a reason not to pay taxes. “Looking at records as far back as 2006 I have yet to see an NDC that made a 50% collection. The subvention will not be forever,” Whittaker warned.
Touching on the issue of the unpreparedness of some schools for reopening, on Monday last, Whittaker questioned why persons were of the opinion that it had to be dealt with by the Minister of Education or the Minister of Local Government.
He asked about the role of the Parent-Teacher Associa-tions and the heads of the various schools pointing out that when he was a headmaster he would ensure that water, furniture and everything else was in order at least two weeks before school reopened. “Now someone has the idea to go on Sunday, less than 24 hours before the reopening of school to get things done,” he said.
Addressing the project of restoring the New Amsterdam tower, the minister said he was advised to gather additional information, but pointed out that he was aware of the historic value of the structure which should be maintained. Meanwhile, Town Clerk Angelina Collins noted that the handing over of the truck followed a request which was made last year
Mayor Claude Henry expressed gratitude to the Local Government Ministry, pointing out that “over the years we have been using two limping tractor trailers to remove the solid waste.”
The programme was chaired by Town Treasurer Sharon Lamazon Anderson and saw Whittaker hand over the keys to Collins. There was also a prayer by Rev Moonu.