– Deputy Mayor
By: Kiana Wilburg
The recent revelations by this newspaper of the controversial Parking Meter Contract have left many Guyanese in absolute disbelief.
One such person is Deputy Mayor Sherod Duncan.
The political activist, in an interview with this newspaper yesterday, said that the contract is nothing but a piece of negotiation disaster.
“I think that the contract is a piece of negotiation disaster; not made in the interest of the residents of Georgetown. The document has never come before the full Council for approval even though it was signed within the life of this Council. That’s wrong. We never debated it or approved it.”
The Deputy Mayor said that everything that emerges from the contract in his view is utterly tainted.
Furthermore, Duncan said that the terms of the contract are so detestable that when considered together, any right thinking Guyanese would be hard pressed to call for the entire operation to be suspended indefinitely.
The Deputy Mayor stressed that the Parking Meter contract does not improve the city. He is convinced that it is a money making venture for a few, reaped on the backs of hard working city residents.
The parking meter contract has been kept from the public eye since it was announced that the Mayor and City Council of Georgetown signed the agreement with Smart City Solutions (SCS).
PARKING METER CONTRACT
Kaieteur News got hold of the original contract and after perusal, it was realised that the company can extend the duration of the 49-year agreement for an additional 49 years under the same terms of the current agreement subject to the approval of the City. This means that the company was given the option to operate in Guyana for almost one century.
Another glaring provision in the contract relates to its termination. In the event that both parties wish to terminate the contract, this can be done via a written consent. However, if City Hall wishes to unilaterally terminate the contract without the written consent of the company, the City shall pay SCS a lump sum payment equivalent to the total direct and indirect, hard and soft cost cumulative gross investment of the company in the project.
This lump sum is to be added to an amount equal to 25 percent of the total direct and indirect, hard and soft cost cumulative gross investment of the company in the project. When the value of the 25 percent is calculated, it is to be further multiplied by the number of years remaining under the agreement.
Further, the Council would have to pay the reasonable out-of-pocket and documented costs and expenses incurred by the company as a direct result of such termination, cancellation, rescinding or voiding.
Moreover, the M&CC has been barred by the agreement to terminate the contract for its own convenience.
Equally worrying is the fact that the onus is on the M&CC to facilitate tax exemptions to be awarded to the company.
According to the contract, “The City Hall shall support and facilitate any application or process the concessionaire (SCS) may pursue to secure exemption from income, corporation, VAT (value added tax), capital gains and all other levies, taxes, duties, cesses or other imposition of similar nature in respect of the importation, use and operation of any equipment and materials, including but not limited to, any unit or part of the Metered Parking System imported by the concessionaire for purposes of initialisation and on-going operation of the project.”
The company has been afforded a number of sole and absolute discretions also. These include SCS having the power to establish distinct and multiple geographic Parking Zones within the territory of the City which shall be subject to distinct Metered Parking Fees and Parking Fines.
This process however, must be accompanied by the company demonstrating the basis and justification for the distinctions within any relevant study to be provided to the City Council.
Further, the company can begin charging for parking beyond 19:00hrs. This can be done in places classified as “nocturnal areas” which are typically frequented during evening hours.
The aforementioned are just some of the conditions which the M&CC have bound Guyana.
The contract was signed by Mayor Patricia Chase-Green, Town Clerk Royston King, and Councillor Junior Garrett on behalf of the council. Signatories for the company are Chairman and Director of SCS Simon Moshesvilli and Director Ifagbamila Kamau Cush.
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