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Confusion over Christmas decorations in Valsayn
In the height of the Yuletide season, St Joseph MP Terrence Deyalsingh has been caught in the middle of a confusion among constituents of Palm Road, North Valsayn, over Christmas decorations at a private resident’s home called Ramsingh’s Tropical Wonderland. On one side, a resident likened Deyalsingh’s behaviour to that of Ebenezer Scrooge, who despises Christmas and all things which give people happiness.
While on the other, some residents claim that Deyalsingh has been trying to find a solution to two problems they have been facing nightly—traffic congestion, and not being able to gain access into their homes due to the steady stream of motorists frequenting the community. Though the beautifully decorated house which belongs to businessman Aziz Ramsingh has been attracting hundreds of curious people, it has brought some level of inconvenience and anger to several residents who live on the bustling street.
It took Ramsingh four weeks to install the lights, which are adorned in and outside his home, and on the sidewalk. The Ramsinghs also erected a steel structure over the roadway with strings of pulsating LED lights, which throws off beautiful designs on the road. The decorations, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, consists of over 500,000 LED light bulbs which were imported from China in three 40-foot freight containers.
The decorations have been drawing families from all over the country, from as far as Princes Town, Biche and Mayaro.
Ackbar Khan disappointed in MP
On Friday, 82-year-old Justice of the Peace Ackbar Khan, who has been decorating his property with lights for 14 years, said Ramsingh came to him last week almost in tears to complain that Deyalsingh had “threatened” to have his decorations removed since it was causing too much congestion in the neighbourhood. Khan and Ramsingh are next-door neighbours. Khan said he told Deyalsingh he was “disappointed” in him because the decorations were put up once a year for the children’s enjoyment.
Asked if Deyalsingh behaved like Ebenezer Scrooge, Khan replied, “I think so. I support that.” Khan said he spoke to a high-ranking official of the PNM, and the matter eventually died.
Deyalsingh: I did my duty as requested
Yesterday, Deyalsingh, defending his position, said he has no authority to remove the decorations. Deyalsingh explained that three members of the Valsayn Residents Association—Timmy Nath, Dr Hafeez Waris and Zamir Muzaffar—approached him to help deal with the traffic situation.
The residents, Deyalsingh said, also expressed concerns about the decorated steel structure over the roadway and not being able to enter their homes. “They asked me to put forward their concerns and that was the end of my involvement. I did my duty as requested by the residents.” Deyalsingh said he advised the members that if they wanted to take the matter further, they should write to him through the association outlining their concerns and he would raise the matter with the relevant authority.
“As of now, they have not written to me. I am in no position to do anything further without their guidance and consent.” Deyalsingh said until he gets something in writing from them, he would not move forward. However, Deyalsingh questioned who authorised the erection of the steel structure. “That is the issue now.” He maintained that at no time did he approach anyone “aggressively,” saying that was not his style. Deyalsingh said he did not want to get into a war of words with Khan.
Muzaffar: Deyalsingh in a precarious position Describing Ramsingh as a community worker and a close friend, Muzaffar said he thinks “the matter was getting out of hand,” since five streets in the community were faced with gridlock nightly.
Muzaffar said while it was a delight to see the joy in the children’s faces, “it is creating some concern and inconvenience” for some residents, mainly with homeowners having difficulty getting into their driveway because vehicles are often parked in front of their front gates and lawns when they arrive home. He said the problem was exacerbated by the road which was made one-way from 6 pm to midnight. “I don’t know if that is with or without the approval of the police,” he added.
Muzaffar said the problem would intensify as Christmas draws closer. “Maybe it has gone a little too far now, because there are lights over the road.” Muzaffar said the residents are displeased but are refusing to come forward. He said the solution lies with proper traffic management. Muzaffar also said some of the residents suggested that the lights be switched on at 8 pm instead of 6 pm.
“They also need to put a one-way in and one-way out into Valsayn, assuming that the authorities are in agreement with what is going on, because on many occasions it (traffic) has backed up to the highway.” Muzaffar said Deyalsingh was in a “precarious position” since people want to know why he would want to pull the plug on the decorations, while on the other hand residents were being inconvenienced. “I think our MP is caught in the middle trying to satisfy all sides.” Ramsingh refused to comment on the matter on Friday.
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