Considerable was the surprise of guests at Ninove's New Year's do, when the mayor concluded his speech by saying: "Enjoy the reception. Today there are no alcohol checks."
An opposition councillor told the daily Het Nieuwsblad: "This is particularly hurtful for the relatives of traffic victims run down by drunk drivers. What kind of a signal is the mayor dispatching? That it's OK to drink with abandon."
The Belgian Mobility Secretary Melchior Wathelet has attacked the mayor's words: "People shouldn't be worried about being caught. They should organise themselves beforehand and designate a sober driver."
Mayor Casteur is clearly shocked by the reaction to his words: "Our New Year's reception is not a binge. I never saw anybody live the event drunk! It's the fourth time we organise this event. 2,000 people attend. We've never had any problems with drunks."