The parking meter fiasco


Since the conclusion of the Local Government Elections, City Hall has found itself making innumerable questionable decisions. From moving vendors from the Stabroek market to breaking down the ‘Dread’ Shop, we watched as City Hall through its rubber stamps and overzealous and incompetent town clerk, Royston King committed several oppressive acts against the poor.

There were arguments that these changes were needed, necessary even. We needed to restore the Stabroek Market environs to its former glory. No one was against the idea of a clean square, but making unilateral decisions without consultations with those who would have been affected with no alternative measures put in place was, dare one say, dictatorial.

Now, with the vendors once again back at the Stabroek market square and the area boasting ghastly covered holes, one begins to wonder whether City Hall is run by people capable of critical thought or people whose self interest is so high that they cannot see more than two steps in front of them.

One of the major incidents that has irrevocably caused me to ‘cut my eye’ pon City Hall, was the parking metre fiasco. I don’t own a vehicle but their shady deal with the equally shady company with its laughable misnomer “Smart City Solutions,” should be cause for concern for everyone. It displays City Hall’s flagrant dismissal of the electorates need and desire for transparency and accountability.

This action has caused many who would have voted in the Local Government Elections to wonder whether the changes seen are merely cosmetic, while the systems, principles and mindset of the previous council remain intact.

Despite fierce public calls, by not only the electorate but by sitting council members and Deputy Mayor, Sherod Duncan, the deal went through and we are now stuck with ghastly green monuments of corruption obstructing not only our lives but walkways in the city’s environs.

In passive protest fashion, many persons simply refused to pay for parking and became creative with their parking areas and aside from being amusing, I found it commendable that they are refusing to let the meter company drain them when the economy is already extremely tight.

Then, there was a protest earlier today against the meters by Sherod, where he labelled the meters as burdensome- which they are. The council from all indications has not done a feasibility study regarding the impact these meters will have on not only businesses but the working men and women in the city and even how this affects schools and persons residing in Georgetown.

Personally, meh spirit ain tek Sherod. There is something inherently false about him that makes me shake with uneasiness. A lot of his actions I believe are motivated by the pure desire for validation but hey, as long as he is seeking validation by standing up for and with the small man, I guess I’m good with that- even while I continue holding reservations and continue wondering about some of his actions such as staying away from the vote on the parking metre in December.

Journalist Gordon Mosely, today posted a short extract of Sherod’s words on parking meters during the LGE debates and as hypocritical as it may seem and actually be on Sherod’s part, one needs to be fair. Gordon’s post was a bit one sided in that, aside from not doing an actual follow up with Sherod, is one not allowed to change one’s mind on something? I have said and done things in the past year that I am not particularly proud of and which do not define the person I am today. That aside, I am not sure that Sherod is against parking meters themselves, but rather the corrupt insidious way in which they were implemented as he explained in a facebook post on his page.

Many can understand the need for stricter-monitored city parking, and there will, of course, be the upside of jobs being created and long-term revenue being garnered for the city if we cave in and decide to pay for parking (which I am hoping we don’t.) However, this process should have been carried out more transparently, and attempts to breach a contract which is valid for 25 years should never have happened, as it upends all the promises regarding transparency and due diligence made. I love that members of the GTU recently went out to protest against the meters because the council needs to know that it is accountable to the people. The realistic side of me says that it may not actually bring about change but I have always held firmly to the belief that the best way to stymie a revolution is to believe that one cannot make a change or cause a dent in the status quo, so power to everyone protesting and griping about the injustices meted out against them. Strong steps will form into powerful movements.