Oct 10, 2019 Editorial
The parking meter project was constructed wrong, presented wrong, and was wrong on many other fronts. Almost similarly, the parking protests had a troubling flavor to them. The energy levels were just too much, the doggedness and resourcefulness exhibited not of ordinary men and women seeking a vehicular footprint here and there on a temporary basis, or of one car in one space. Clearly, this involved commercial interests, with cash and strength to make things stay roiled. Ordinary citizens sensed other presences. Sure, those fingerprints are blurred, but there was enough to enable deciphering of the reasonable from the real politicks that are of this rancorous Guyana.
No holds they are, with nothing off-limits. When something as routine as parking rises to the level of the frenzies that were generated, then good sense conveys that something is off-color, not quite right. It was too much for something not so threatening.
It was too organized, too well-resourced, too concerted in effort and spirit.
Further, the degree of stridency brought to the table and before the public was way out of proportion to the issue at hand. The corroborating public relations program was intense. As a reminder, this was over parking space. One would have thought that this was about banning of protests; or closing down all houses of entertainment; or suspending the writ of habeas corpus.
The passions displayed would have found greater credibility for such endangering issues as police brutality, or other law enforcement corrupt practices, that clearly impinge upon the freedoms and safety of the simple, regular citizenry. There are a host of other controversial and disturbing issues that this nation has experienced, and which should have unleashed deserving and powerful groundswells of objection. But they did not. Not even when life and limb are in the balance. And yet there it was for something as inexplicable as parking.
It was just as inexplicable to absorbing and sifting citizens, the more impacted man-in-the-street. Those would be the people, who use the town more than anyone else: the residents, the shoppers, the taxi drivers, the deliverers and the collectors. The bewildered musings were: What is the problem? Why the hullabaloo? Over parking? Come on, get real!
It is highly likely that men and women from the areas outside of the city, those of different philosophical persuasions, and all those of varying social standings felt the same way. Too much over too little. The objections were well thought-out: Not a revenue generator; not legal; not cheap enough; not consulted enough; not managed well enough.
Interest groups bring intense and sustained pressure to bear on that which has damaged and inflict continuing harms. Interest groups, in their general and individual composition, have their political inclinations and political affiliations. But those are secondary to what may have started out as an undertaking of merit but ends up being something of single-minded pursuit. Cigarette smoking, drunk driving, and cancer care come to mind.
At the inception, the parking meter issue may (may) have had sympathy in its favor. Too expensive; too poorly marketed; too mishandled. However, as events unfolded, the surrounding issues crystallized, and the involved parties took final shape and form, the initial sympathies garnered were dissipated at the grassroots level, and the overall matter assumed the regular complexions.
In Guyana, this can be rough, but accurately, translated to mean this: because the other man and the other side have their hands on this thing and are responsible for its origin, implementation, and possible success, then that is damnable. It just cannot be allowed. For in this country, opposition-regardless of the group that holds that portfolio at any one time-has come to mean resistance and undermining towards futility and failure for the sake of simply doing so. No issue is too small or too immaterial to leave alone. Thwart the next side, force into retreat, compel surrender on everything.
Even if authentic underpinnings were once present, that now takes a back seat to what has since been made public. It’s the political, stupid. What else?
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