Jun 20, 2016 News
Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan has promised that Central Government will intervene in the ongoing parking meter fiasco at the Georgetown Mayor and City Council,(M&CC) to ensure that Guyanese get the best deal.
The Minister said that the Council will essentially have to put a hold on plans to implement parking meters, given the lack of transparency surrounding the transaction.
While the central government intervention in the matters of local government is not something that he would support, in light of the significant moral and financial implication of such a contract, the minister said that the Council is asked to stay their hand until greater clarity can be made on the initiative.
Bulkan, the Minister responsible for Local Government in Guyana, said after meeting with councilors who expressed their views on the issue, a request for the contract has been sent to Town Clerk, Royston King.
But the Minister is yet to receive the document, which was requested about a week ago. Bulkan however expressed optimism that the Council will cooperate with Central Government.
“I don’t believe the Council would want to adopt a confrontational attitude towards the government. Besides, the deal can only be approved with the support of the entire council.”
The announcement of the parking meter project was made recently by M&CC’s Town Clerk, Royston King, who said that since November, the city had signed a contract with Smart City Solutions Inc, a company collaborating National Parking Systems” (NPS) to install solar-powered parking meters in critical areas of Georgetown.
The company is said to have invested tens of millions of dollars in preparatory works, including bringing engineers from its headquarters to determine traffic volume and occupancy.
However, the issue made headlines after Deputy Mayor, Sherod Duncan, expressed misgivings about the two companies involved in the deal, saying he was not consulted and that he had little information to work with.
Duncan demanded answers, saying that his research could find little details about NPS, owned by Guyana-born Ifa Kamau Cush, and its partner, Smart City Solutions.
Additionally NPS, on its website, had claimed a Park Avenue, Manhattan address as its office but investigations by Kaieteur News found that no such office exists.
Duncan had noted, too, that there have been no public consultations on the introduction of parking meters, which are proposed to see drivers pay up to $500 per hour. The city is reportedly getting 20 percent of the fees.
It is unclear what criteria were used by King and his advisors to arrive at the 20 percent and what impact a parking meter system will have on the city.
Top city officials have since embarked on a trip to Mexico to learn about on a controversial trip even as members of the council continue to complain that they have not even seen the contract.
City Mayor, Patricia Chase-Green and Councillors, Oscar Clarke and Junior Garrett have all thrown their support behind the controversial deal saying that the Council needs the revenue.
The Town Clerk has since promised to hold a press conference to iron the issue.
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