Jan 27, 2017 News
Emphasising that it is not Government’s intention to influence decisions made by
Local Government Organs (LGOs), the David Granger-led Administration is paying attention to the developments stemming from the parking meter initiative that was introduced in several parts of the Capital, Georgetown.
This is according to the Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman – who is deputising for the State Minister, Joseph Harmon – at the Post-Cabinet Press Briefing yesterday at the Ministry of the Presidency.
Trotman said Government has never stopped paying attention to the project and reminded media operatives about the financial and legal examinations that were carried out by the Ministry of Finance and the Attorney General’s Chambers respectively.
“It is not Government’s intention to reach its hand into Local Government Organs and try to direct or to influence their decisions. Central government will intervene, or seek to broker compromises in situations where we believe they are imperative. For now, we prefer to observe and see how the response unfolds,” Trotman said.
The Minister was asked if the apparent rejection, which is compounded by ‘empty streets’ were not enough for the Government to intervene. He responded: “The short answer is no!”
Trotman reiterated Government’s stance while opining that “taking a snapshot of just one day or two days, is not enough to be able to get an overall response.”
“Government continues to take note of some empty streets. We have noted some
picketing and some protests, but these are really at the very, very beginning stages of the implementation of a project which of course, some have considered to be “unpopular” but Government to intervene in day one or day two, would be highly irresponsible, and I believe that as time progresses, you will need to hear from the Private Sector, from business places… So there will have to be a number of voices to be heard before Government even considers weighing in on the matter,” the Minister said.
Trotman was asked about his take on the consultative process that was undertaken prior to the implementation of the project, specifically as it relates to the persons who live on the outskirts of the City but have their places of employment within the paid parking zones.
“As far as consultations are concerned, I would say that having been involved in consultations on numerous occasions in numerous places of interest, consultations are never enough, in the sense that there is always going to be an interest group that feels that it has been omitted,” Trotman responded.
He added that idea of parking meters has been a “live one” for many months, and he believes that Government will have to wait and see how it is going to evolve.
The Government Minister said that he believes that the peoples’ voice is not to be ignored and so “time will tell”.
He added that the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) is a democratically elected one, and it will make decisions which are not just in its own best interest, but as importantly, in the best interest of the people.
“Cabinet has not at all removed its interest or replaced its interest in the matter. At the same time, we are very aware that Local Government Elections were recently held and that there was an overall decline – if not almost destruction of the local government system over the past two decades, and local democracy has to have a level of autonomy if it is to see its way,”
Smart City Solutions (SCS) – the parking meter company – this newspaper reported earlier this week, received a cold response after its implementation of the system last Tuesday. Drivers complained about the lack of awareness. The company is still being observed implementing the necessary infrastructure to support the project.
Meanwhile, at around 15:45hrs yesterday, there were a large number of vacant demarcated spots in Central Georgetown. However there was an evident increase in vehicles occupying these reserved paid parking areas as compared to the previous days. It is unclear whether or not they were required to pay.
In the vicinity of the Guyana Stores, Water Street, a motor lorry that was parked on a spot was booted by a triangular wheel clamp. Several other vehicles that did not utilise the parking facilities within that vicinity were also booted. However, vehicle operators were not required to pay for the removal of the apparatus.
Delinquent drivers as of next Monday will be required to pay, as Smart City Solutions is slated to have the project fully implemented.
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