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Letter: To move forward we need to take the fight to City Hall

Is there a mandate for the retention of the parking meters installed on the streets of Georgetown, the capital city? The 13 votes for and 12 against is but a pyrrhic victory for those in favour of the imposed parking meter contract and the parking meters installed in the city. In fact, as already argued by me the manifesto of the APNU+AFC coalition was devoid of any mention of parking meters as a solution to congestion in the city.

The vote for and against is an indication of its massive unpopularity. Any reference to ‘Democracy in Action’ is a farce aimed at diverting attention to the lack of support among the general populace. Instead this should read ‘Deception in Action.’ The time for grandstanding, rhetoric and platitudes about democracy is over. The fact that SCS Inc, the partner in the contract, refused to divulge information to the re-negotiating team is an indication of a clandestine deal that lacks any semblance of transparency and accountability.

The Town Clerk continues to mislead this council. His interventions and misguidance continue unabated. His allegation that the re-negotiating team has in his words overstepped its mandate is cause for concern. Is it not time the Town Clerk be excluded from the council? In fact, the continued misspellings, grammatical errors and erroneous statements contained in the minutes delivered to councillors at the last minute, are an indication of an attempt to cloud issues. This results in a lack of transparency and accountability, thus diverting from the real issues that need to be discussed.

Attempts to repeatedly baptize the illegal contract for parking meters as popular does not stand scrutiny when the report of the re-negotiating team is examined as a whole. In fact, this report’s findings validate and vindicate the eight massive silent street protests led by the Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM).

So what can we do as a council?

  • We need to be vigilant and expose all attempts to re-renegotiate this contract.
  • We need to frustrate attempts by the Town Clerk to discredit the work of the re-negotiating team claiming they have overstepped their mandate in respect to the terms of reference.
  • We need to oppose all attempts to confuse metered parking systems with an imposed system of parking meters which is illegal and lacks transparency and accountability.
  • We need to expose erroneous views such as the one that the parking meters will bring order and reduce congestion in the city. In fact it will kill business and bring untold hardships to citizens who simply cannot afford additional taxes at this time.
  • We need to recognize the implications the parking meter deal will have on the environment. It has the potential to lock us in an unsustainable future with disastrous effects in a carbon strapped economy. Why can’t we learn from the mistakes of others?
  • We need to expose the flawed results in terms of reliability and validity of several of the surveys conducted that have been used to interpret the statistics in a biased way.

The report of the re-negotiating team states that central government can frustrate the contract signed by SCS Inc. We must, however, recognize that SCS Inc will not pack up and leave as their experience in Mexico City has shown. We need to take the fight to City Hall if we are to move forward.
Khame Sharma, Councillor

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