Give M&CC administration chance to address city woes – Harmon

first_imgOne day after City Hall approved the amended by-laws paving the way for the return of the controversial parking meter project, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon has urged that the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) be given an opportunity to attempt to address the city’s woes and if citizens were still not satisfied, then they can have city administrators removed at the upcoming local government polls.Speaking at the post-Cabinet press briefing on Thursday, Minister Harmon posited Government was never against paid parking in Georgetown, but only intervened to ensure that the controversial contract between the M&CC and Smart City Solutions (SCS) was reviewed.“What we felt was that there was a need for order in the city and that the City Council in its deliberation and its judgement recognised that this is a way to go, and I believe we must allow the City Council to function as a city council, and not just as an arm of Government. The people elected them to govern the affairs of the city and they must be given that opportunity to govern,” he noted.According to the Minister of State, if citizens are still not happy with the way the city’s affairs is being handled by this current administration, then they will have the opportunity to do something about it.“Later on this year or some time later this year, you will have an opportunity to have a referendum as to whether in fact you believe the city fathers and mothers are doing a good job. And so allow them to function, because it must not be said that ‘Oh we were not allowed to function and this is why this didn’t happen or that didn’t happen.’ Give them an opportunity to do what they have to do and let us move on from there,” Harmon posited.The Minister went on to reiterate that the Georgetown City Council was an independent body, and that the decisions that were being made were well within the remit of the City Council.“Therefore, unless an approach is made to Central Government, we would prefer to allow the City Council to do its work,” Harmon urged.The implementation of paid parking in the city was met with widespread protests from civil society.This forced Government to order City Hall to suspend the contract with SCS back in March last year and have it reviewed. A committee was subsequently set up to renegotiate the contract and amended bylaws, which were debated and approved by the Council at a special meeting on Wednesday.City Hall will now have to display the amended by-laws for a minimum of 14 days in public spaces and during that time, persons could write to City Hall expressing their concerns.They will then be forwarded to Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan for his approval; if approval is given, the by-laws will be gazetted.Under the new agreement, persons will be paying $150 per hour and $800 for eight hours of parking in the city. Meanwhile, residents of the city will be issued with a restricted residential pass for free parking from 17:00h to 19:00h Monday to Friday while parking will be free on Saturdays.last_img

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