Last year April, President Granger spoke to the media about (not through a general press conference of which he has only held one so far but that is for another column) the marijuana law. Then, he went in a certain direction.
Here is an extract from my May 8, 2016 column captioned; “ President Granger misses some essential points about copying” in which the President opened himself to endless questions from that time about his ideological beliefs
This is what I wrote; “President Granger asserted that there is no priority on the Government’s agenda for changing the laws relating to marijuana. In justifying his position he is quoted as saying that we should be careful what we copy from the developed world.” I am not sure since making that ideological observation that he and his government have been consistent with how they copy from what the textbook refers to as the First World.
Mr. Granger’s Ministers from both APNU and AFC drive SUVs that are of the type the leaders of the rich industrial countries use. Don’t take my word for it; just look at world news on the internet and you will see our leaders drive the same type of SUVs that First World Cabinet Ministers drive. When I see our Ministers in those vehicles my heart always sinks. Could one of the poorest countries in the world afford such luxuries?
Those are very expensive stuff and the engine capacity is large. The State’s gas bill must be colossal. Aren’t we copying wrongly from the rich lands of the world? Must be peanuts for those rich Governments, but in poor Guyana the state has to fork out an enormous amount.
I don’t think I could resist the temptation of being cynical that our Ministers drive the same type of SUVs as their Canadian counterparts but we get financial aid from Canada or I can put it more cynically, we beg Canada for money.
Did we copy wrongly when we erected D’Urban Park? I mean the First World have large State buildings where they put on ceremonies with pomp and splendour. But they can afford it. We could have used the Providence Stadium for our pomp and splendour in May last year when the Golden Jubilee was celebrated, and save over a billion dollars even if some of the money came as donations. We could have asked for the donations anyway and put it in health, education and security.
We come now to parking meters. I was educated in Canada where I saw the parking meter system in operation and saw my in-laws paying to park. But that is Canada, one of the top economies in the world. Do we have an economy that could sustain paid parking? The answer is no, so I believe President Granger copied wrongly there and he should drop this latest act of copying.
Of course, some readers may be inclined to see the parking meter thing as not the responsibility of Mr. Granger’s government. I do not agree. I was interviewed by Stan Gouveia on Hits and Jam radio on Wednesday and the grey area came up.
I went at length to explain to listeners that the Government is being deceitful when it speaks of the City Council’s independence. The Attorney-General’s analysis of the parking meter contract was devastatingly critical. After that one thought the meter thing was dead.
Then last week to make the parking meters a reality, the Government had to make legal the parking meters by-laws. This Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan, signed into law early last week.
For me it is not only pathetic nonsense but it is deceptive to say that Central Government cannot intervene since City Council is independent. If City Council is independent then why City Council didn’t bring in their own parking meter bylaws? If government didn’t see economic sense in the parking meter system then why did it legalize the by-laws?
The plain, honest, moral, legal truth is that the Government of Guyana has the power to stop the implementation.
Alright, let us say it does not have the power then, I would like Minister Bulkan to contact me and read the law which legally prevents the Guyana Government from stopping a project that the City Council has embarked upon. Is there a law that when you read it, it clearly states that there are no circumstances that exist that could allow for central government to intervene in the affairs of the Georgetown City Council.
As an aside, can Mr. Bulkan tell me what the legal powers of the imminent Local Government Commission are?
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