I WRITE to give my bit on the ongoing bicker pertaining to city parking meters slated for the capital. After reading in the newspapers the information coming from the Mayor and City Council, and pairing it with that said in past weeks, I remain disappointed at the type of reporting that was done, and the apparent hunger for publicity by Deputy Mayor Sherod Duncan, whose agenda now seems clear.In past letters, I have always conveyed my burning desire to see Georgetown grow, develop, and become like other great cities I have seen around the world during my travels. But given this country’s culture of nip and grab, sensational journalism and corruption, I think transition even to the positive will be hard for some.
Before I speak on the sensational media coverage, I will first address the Deputy Mayor, who excited the whole event in his bid to become popular, as his tenure — in my view — is just a step up in his political career.
Mr. Duncan took to social media and made utterances, then told the media that he was not aware of an invitation from the parking meter company to Mexico and Panama, making it seems as if something terrible was amidst.
Is Duncan for the Mayor and City Council, or its citizens, or is he just being a politician seeking to capitalise on the tarnished image of a once inadequate Municipality?
Is he trying to gain popularity as this decent, outspoken, truth-loving person at the expense of the Municipality? I think that is exactly what he is doing. He is new to the Council, so why did he not wait until the team’s return from overseas to have an in-depth conversation that would address his concerns; and if that were not forthcoming, then go to the press.
Unfortunately for Mr. Duncan, he embarrassed himself, in my view, to say that he did not know about the invitation when relevant evidence (minutes) were provided that all councillors were notified at a statutory meeting, announcements having been made by the Mayor.
It goes to show whether Mr Duncan actually reviews his minutes, which he and other councillors adopt, or whether he is breezing through his duties.
Duncan said he did not have a copy of the contract. What I realise, and from small chat with persons when I visit the council, is that our incumbent body is still learning the ropes, and that’s why the orientation activities were deemed necessary, I was told. I understand that some councillors believe they were paid depending on the amount of committees they are on and based on activities they perform. One even thought he would have received his own office, and $250,000 monthly pay was fitting for him, he said. But unfortunately for these budding politicians, their positions are almost voluntary, that is why they receive only small stipends.
I say this to bring light on the mindset out there. So, was Mr. Duncan waiting for personal copies of the contracts to be delivered to him and all councillors? Which organisation works that way? It would be easy for anyone to interfere in the process of the investment, as the Mayor told the media.
But I ask again: whose fault is it that he did not read his minutes, or pay attention to the meeting? And how feasible is it to give every councilor a copy of the contract?
Now Mr. Duncan has the media buzzing “corruption, corruption”, and being the Deputy Mayor, the media credits him and endorses sensational news-selling information of corruption. Until the team’s return, no media house had information or responses from them, but Mr. Duncan’s loose, uninformed statements that implied his resentment of not being chosen for the trip made headlines.
I saw a public notice on the M&CC’s Green City Facebook page highlighting all the confrontational statements and the responses; but all media houses, even though they had some of the clarifications at the bottom of their articles, still leaned on the notion that something corrupt was involved in the parking meter project.
Is it that the media did not believe what was said at the press conference? I though their job was just to relay information, especially after giving so much coverage to one side. This is a sad state for professional, unattached journalism.
I, on the other hand, look forward to the parking meters. I have seen what it does to the organisation and free flow of a city.