The Anna Regina Town Day 2013 was a total failure in terms of planning; there was no smoothly managed diversion of the traffic and vehicles had to drive through streets filled with potholes causing damage to their vehicles. The commercial centres, including the Anna Regina market, were shut down completely for two days, and were cordoned off causing businessmen and vendors to suffer great losses in income.
There was no proper planning to promote the township; the main target villages were from Richmond to Anna Regina, leaving out 21 other villages within the township. The publicity was slick and forceful with banners hanging over the public road. Money did not seem to be a problem, and the IMC’s Town Day became mobile excursions and bubble sessions with lots of rum and beer drinking.
The intention, it seemed, was to create and cultivate a youth ‘shock force’ that was fed on high hopes and indoctrinated in the belief of an impending victory for a new council. But taxpayers identified the basic flaw in the work of the preparatory committees. The total area which was cordoned off was littered with broken beer bottles and garbage, preventing commuters and motorists from going about their usual business.
Inside sources revealed the planning committees had planned their activities strategy based on certain assumptions. In the programme outlined in the paper there is work for everyone on the planning committee, but that didn’t happen. The township has social arrangements which exert powerful cohesive and creative influences; the family, the community and cultural groups are manifestations of the dynamism of the township and the enormous possibilities for creative working together, but they were not involved.
Some of the appointed planners who were sidelined are so disappointed about the Anna Regina Town Day, that they will not be part of this activity again unless drastic changes are made. Some of the drivers said from day one the IMC knew that they were going to divert the traffic, hence the streets to be used should have been upgraded instead of drivers navigating potholes which resulted in a lot of frustration.
The Town of Anna Regina extends from Three Friends to Walton Hall (23 villages) in the itinerary that I received as the former Deputy Mayor, while the council only planned the event directly from Damon Park to the GRDB ‒ an area of 50 rods near the colonial high bridge of Anna Regina. There are other historical sites in the township: the Devonshire Castle monument to the slain sugar workers; Damon’s Cross at La Belle Alliance; Bush Lot where the first indentured labourers had a settlement.
I was appalled that the communities were not involved as most of them have a community group. The development of our township is not merely for the IMC or for professional planners or for other categories of people. It is a task for every community in the township. The council and the IMC can achieve a successful Town Day only if they seek to understand the nature of national development and give the individual community collective responsibility for the work to be done.