Something is not right with the suspension of the parking meter arrangements. While it is welcome, one must be cognizant of the circumstances which surround this entire affair. First Mr Bulkan approved of the parking meters when he signed the parking meter by-laws saying that he fully supported the plan and now he is offering no explanation for his government’s decision to rescind. Central government has also stepped in when it previously said it would not interfere. Mr King too, is now on record as saying that there will be re-negotiations and consultations with stakeholders on the contract over this suspension period, when he had previously said in many different ways that it was a done deal and that there was no room for negotiation without the council having to payback large sums to SCS.
The Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM) must now bear in mind that SCS has a binding contract and this issue is not likely to go away quietly. It is therefore very important that the MAPM think this thing out properly and plan a strong strategy on its way forward. There will be metered parking and I am ready to bet that SCS will remain part of that arrangement. It is therefore incumbent on the MAPM to develop a convincing strategic plan for parking arrangements in the city and they too must use this 3-month suspension period to meet and discuss with all stakeholders what such a plan should look like. In other words, the MAPM must not just be objective, it must be pro-active and stand ready to step up to the wicket.
Should SCS retain its monopoly over city parking in any compromised arrangement, then boycotting will remain the people’s only choice for now to drive them out of town.
One could put forward the argument that by pressuring SCS to withdraw its contract could have future repercussions for foreign investment. However, this investment arrangement must be looked at for what it is. SCS allegedly made some unprofessional and un-businesslike deals which led to it obtaining what is seen as a crooked contract with a monopoly over the City of Georgetown and its people for the next forty years or so, and to walk away with what appears to be an unfair sum of our money.
The city, on the other hand, chose to ignore the deadly fall-out of these arrangements and the consequences it would have on the people while, allegedly, some arrangement was secretly entered into to the detriment of the city and the country at large. It appears that it took for granted that the people would fret and grumble for a while, but that in the end, everything will be alright when the storm passes.
Fortunately, this was not the case, and the matter after weeks of protest has come to suspension and hopefully a solution that will be agreeable to all concerned.
This cooling-off period must not be taken lightly by the MAPM and their guard must be firmly held, for while round one goes to the MAPM the fight is far from over. They must continue to engage and interact with their support base as we take into consideration all other stakeholders who have been noticeably quiet but whose lives will surely be impacted if the contract in its present form is maintained. The MAPM must not rest, as that may well be the plan in the expectation it will die a natural death.
The MAPM should also consider formalizing its organization if it has not already done so, in order to be a more bona fide grouping.