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Reference is made to letter captioned “Abominable decision to lease part of Merriman Mall for parking” (Apr 1) by Mr. Hamilton Green, former Mayor. It is noted that the entire City Council, controlled and dominated by members of Mr. Green’s party, APNU+AFC, gave unanimous approval for use of the space in question. Not all of Merriman Mall is used for parking, but just a portion. In fact, most of it remains used by the public.
Parking is a major problem in the city. There are countless businesses around the area of Merriman Mall. There is not enough parking to meet demands of businesses. What harm is done in leasing land to a private developer for parking for his business? This will free up parking spaces for the other businesses in the area – like Bakewell, other restaurants, vehicle service stations, car repair shops, other small businesses, etc.
Mr. Green describes the conversion of the space as an abomination. Was it an abomination when he was Mayor by granting city space to build a huge pharmacy on Mandela Ave? Was it an abomination when he built a house on a city reserve for his daughter, on Mandela Avenue, opposite East La Penitence Police Station? And how about the granting of land space to Guynaz, near Bourda Market, to expand his operations almost unto the road? He also gave permission to fruit stalls on the eastern side of Church Street to sell on the parapet. It still happens till now. Is that not an abomination?
Has Mr. Green forgotten his administration, under his tenure as mayor, ran the dirtiest city. How come he talks of a clean garden city now? When he was in charge of the city, it was okay to use Merriman Mall for a variety of purposes. But now it is not okay. Did he not take City Council reserve land and lease or sold it others? Did Lloyd Singh get City reserves to conduct business?
What is the point in questioning the productive use of the Merriman Mall land for parking? The land at Merriman Mall that is used for parking for the hotel business has been unoccupied for a long period. It was abandoned and left undeveloped for years including during Green’s tenure as Mayor. It is not in productive use. The City Council had an application for innovative use to reduce parking and traffic congestion and it has decided to put it to productive use. Is that not making the city green or turning it into a garden city?
The City Council acted sensibly in leasing the land to a private developer. It has done the same thing that Green did when he was Mayor for two decades. Green has failed to understand economics since he left the Council. The parking would create jobs and the land would be maintained; it would be kept clean. The parking would help to sustain some 300 jobs related to the hotel and other business in the area. Mr. Green should pay heed to economics and sound business practices as well as sanitation before writing these kinds of negative comments.