Deputy Mayor of New Amsterdam Harold Debydeen yesterday dismissed recent criticisms of the Town Council by former mayor Errol Alphonso, saying that its current shortcomings existed throughout his tenure.
“Now, describing the Mayor and Town Council as nincompoops and incompetent people, the former mayor has done himself a great injustice by shooting himself in the foot, because every member of the said council worked under him during his tenure as mayor and the very problems that exist now, existed while he was at the helm. So what nincompoopness and incompetence is he talking about?” Debydeen told a press briefing at the council’s boardroom.
Debydeen, who was accompanied by Mayor Claude Henry and other officials, was responding to criticisms made by Alphonso to the media during a briefing on the New Amsterdam Mashramani activities that he has organised.
The Deputy Mayor denied the suggestion that he had dismissed the Mashramani activities as “Alphonso thing” during communication with Regional Chairman David Armagon. “It is a blatant lie that I spoke negatively on the Alphonso-organized Mash event,” he said, while explaining that he had no discussions with the chairman about Mashramani in the region.
Debydeen further accused Alphonso, who said that New Amsterdam was in a state of “filth and stench,” of seeking to stir up negative publicity in a bid to reclaim the post of mayor in the town. “Mr Alphonso was quite correct when he mentioned… that one does not have to be mayor to have the town’s interest at heart… but in his case, his intention seems more than what he is actually telling the media, judging from the tone…,” he said.
He acknowledged shortcomings in the state of the town, saying that they are due to several factors, including the low collection of rates and taxes, but added that they would be familiar to Alphonso, since he would have faced the same difficulties.
Debydeen, saying that Alphonso has jumped on the “character-assassination wagon,” noted that he also needs to answers questions about his time as mayor. He said Alphonso should explain the reason for the failure of the ‘Christmas in April’ project, the status of the plans to twin New Amsterdam and the town of Midland, in Texas, USA, the location of funds garnered from overseas donations to develop New Amsterdam and what happened to equipment missing from the municipal workshops inherited by the current council.
Meanwhile, Mayor Henry, in a brief comment, questioned the motivation for Alphonso’s attack, while noting that Town Council gave its permission to the New Amsterdam Committee for the Mashramani celebrations.
“We gave our moral support but not our financial [support] as we had to budget ahead for such expenses. I have no axe to grind. I congratulate the committee for taking a hands-on approach.
We could not use taxpayers’ money for things it was not budgeted for. Since 1992, we have not budgeted for a costume for the Mashramani celebrations. That is addressed at the regional level. But our staff was very much involved,” he said.