AFC Councillors did not attend meeting as a protest against parking meter contract

Dear Editor,

Please allow me to respond to a letter in KN April 11, captioned ‘The green monsters must not be allowed to defile our citizens’.

The writer questions why Sherod Duncan and I were notably absent from the debate and the vote to allow the parking meter bylaws and whether our political party, the Alliance for Change, passed the order to us to ‘stand down’. Please allow me to put this question to rest once and for all. The answer is an emphatic not at all!

It was I who called Sherod on the morning of the meeting to suggest to him that we not attend as a show of protest and to stand in solidarity with the citizens of Georgetown. Sherod subsequently released a statement on Facebook stating our reason for not attending the said meeting.

“Former Deputy Mayor Lionel Jaikaran and yours truly refuse to participate in today’s Extraordinary Statutory Meeting because there are attempts to ignore the voices of the people who remain averse to the Parking Meter contract and everything that stems from it.”

We believe that, yes, parking should be regulated to make optimal use of space in our city and also to manage traffic. But the advent of this parking meter contract remains highly questionable and dubious. A contract that took high officials at City Hall less than two months to sign after

we assumed office, has taken us more than two years to try to rectify. We still stand against it.

We believe, like every right-thinking citizen and resident of Georgetown that this contract did not benefit from the wisdom and approval of our council, nor did it benefit from the tender and procurement procedures required by law which make it repugnant, and it therefore should be scrapped. Editor I would also like to state categorically that at no time since I became a Councillor in the 2016 local government elections has the political party that I’m associated with, the AFC, ever asked me to step aside or vote on any issues that I’m in disagreement with. On the contrary, they have encouraged independent thinking, sometimes to the point when I actually think that I’m a free agent! I have on many occasions approached my friend and former General Secretary of the AFC, David  Patterson, for advice on municipal issues only to be told in his peaceful manner: ‘Lionel, my friend, you’re an intelligent person and that’s the reason we’ve asked you to represent our interests. Just be fair and equitable in all of your actions and the

party will support you.’

I trust that this letter will clear up any misconceptions that the citizens of Georgetown may have with regard to my stand against this particular contract for paid parking in Georgetown.

Sometimes silence is the most powerful scream.

Yours faithfully,

Lionel Jaikaran

Councillor

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