So, bar Marlene Hassan Nahon, who remains an independent MP, the GSD is one big happy family again. Ex deputy leader Damon Bossino is back in the executive. Lawrence Llamas, who must surely hold some kind of record, has returned to the fold just ten months after quitting the party with which he was elected in 2015. Harmony reigns.
Or does it? I’m reliably informed that neither man enjoyed the unanimous support of the executive committee.
Some in the GSD felt let down by Mr Bossino when, following his unsuccessful bid for the leadership in 2013, he declined to seek re-election two years later having served just one term in opposition. Since then there have been persistent rumours that he still harboured hopes of one day taking over the reins or, alternatively, forming a new party of his own. He did little to dispel these rumours.
When the post of GSD leader became vacant last year Mr Bossino decided not to stand, but was careful to say: “on this occasion”. And interviewed by GBC last week, he did not deny that he had been planning to form a political party. He admitted talking to people outside the GSD but said “nothing very serious came of it”. In fact, my information is that both Mr Bossino and Lawrence Llamas were part of a cabal including GSD members that was exploring the possibility of forming a third party.
As to Mr Llamas, his readmission was actually touch and go. At least two of the GSD’s five MPs voted against and had voting been by secret ballot, as the MPs wanted, the likelihood is he would not have been welcomed back.
Mr Llamas claimed it was “only natural” that he should return to his “political home”. But that sits ill with his resignation statement in July 2017 when he said his views and those of the GSD were “set on worryingly and irretrievably divergent paths”. In his Christmas message last year he spoke about working “with a growing number of people” and urged others to join them. Hardly the kind of talk you’d expect from someone who would submit to the GSD whip just five months later. Maybe the self-styled “conviction politician”, who had pledged to stay on as an independent for the remainder of this parliament, came to realise he had little prospect as things stood of retaining his seat in the next one.
On Friday 16th March infrastructure minister Paul Balban told parliament that in six to eight weeks’ time the residential parking Zone 2 bays then lying empty would probably be filled. The scheme had to bed down, he insisted. Well, nearly ten weeks have now elapsed and the situation has not appreciably improved. Not along Queensway anyway.
Yes in some places, Governor’s Parade for instance, you see more cars in the demarcated yellow bays than before. But along Queensway parking spaces remain stubbornly vacant while pay car parks burst at the seams, with no room left for frustrated drivers.
Logic suggests there simply isn’t the demand for so many restricted parking spaces on this road, and that the community would be better served if the bays were free or pay-and-display instead.
How about it Mr. Balban?
The day after I published this post, the government announced changes to the parking arrangements at the southern end of Queensway. The bays opposite Queensway Quay will revert to free parking between eight in the morning and midnight and will only be restricted to Zone 2 permit holders overnight. A victory for common sense!