Jul 26, 2016 News
By Jarryl Bryan
President David Granger is urging City Hall to embark on consultations when making decisions that affect the people of Georgetown.
He made this assertion in the wake of wrangling between Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) and city businesses over the $25,000 fee for storage containers.
During his weekly televised programme, ‘The Public Interest,’ Granger said that while he would not interfere when the Council is acting within the law, the Council members must remember that they were elected to office by the citizens and that the power ultimately belongs to the people.
Granger recalled his visit to City Hall on June 27, when he had addressed a full Council. He stated that back then, he had stressed that the Council was accountable to the citizens.
He recalled that he had said that the Council had 30 months to engage with citizens.
“I went to the Council and addressed the Council. This is because I felt that Georgetown was a national capital. And there had to be responsiveness on the part of the Municipal Council to central Government’s or the national interest.”
“I actually advised that every member of the Council was responsible for a particular constituency. They all should visit the constituencies. So my view is that there should be greater consultation in everything they did. That is the message I felt I had transmitted to the Mayor and Councillors.”
Granger said that in the case of the decision to move vendors; he had said that vending was a legitimate economic activity.
Granger said that if there needed to be changes in accordance with sanitary or safety rules, adequate preparation should be made for the vendors.
“Similarly, in other matters like the parking meters and container taxes, I would urge the Mayor and City Council to embark on a consultative process. I would not interfere to the extent that they feel the Council itself is acting within the law.”
The President stated that he was not interested in a conflict or a confrontational situation between the Council and citizens.
“In the case of the vendors, there was consultation. People were advised and informed of the need for change. Similarly, on every major measure that has an effect on the residents of Georgetown, (be it) corporate residents or individual property owners, there should be information and communication.”
“I’m not directing, I’m not dictating. I’m simply asking for the process to be open and transparent so the people know what decisions are made by the Council.
“The Council has some large degree of autonomy. I simply ask that they bear in mind what is the national interest, since it’s a national capital.”
The M&CC recently took a unanimous decision to implement a $25,000 fee for the operation of storage containers within the city. This fee implementation was officially agreed on by the full Council when they held their Statutory Meeting at City Hall.
The new Council had announced sweeping measures to reinforce its authority in the city and collecting hundreds of millions in outstanding taxes. However the fees came on the heels of a contract which was given to a consortium, National Parking Systems and Smart City Solutions Inc., to install parking meters around the city.
But Deputy Mayor Sherod Duncan and several observers had objected to the manner in which the contract was awarded.
Central Government eventually announced that the Attorney General’s Chambers would review the contract.
The contract will nevertheless be implemented from September. Despite the wide ranging effect the parking meters will likely have, there has been no consultation between M&CC and the citizenry.
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