…third protest again attracts large numbers
The pressure continues to mount against the powers that be for the complete revocation of the Parking Meter contract between the Georgetown Mayor and City Council and Smart City Solutions. The Movement against
Parking Meters held its third protest yesterday in front of City Hall yesterday.
Expressing his rejection of the contract was People’s Progressive Party Councillor Bishram Kuppen, who told the media that one of his contentions are the number of concessions given to SCS under the contract.
The M&CC had agreed to support and facilitate any application or process the company may pursue to secure exemption from income, corporations, 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 related to the metered parking system.
Further, Kuppen said that the rejection of the project is not solely about the City implementing parking meters as the council has the authority to do so under the Municipal and Districts Council Act subject to some other laws.
“But the way, how this contract came about there was no consultation with the public. There was no public tendering; this is something that was very burdensome. If you recall the original rate was $500 and it is only after public outcry that they are reducing it. Now I call this like a rotten apple, you’re trying to fix something that is not good to begin with. I think this entire contract should be scrapped and they should start over and then get public consultation and involvement for approval of this.”
He added that making adjustments to the contract will not serve the people of Georgetown. As it relates amendments being made to the contract, Kuppen said that at the last meeting of council, there was a PowerPoint presentation saying “Proposed Reduction”.
“That is not the contract, that is a PowerPoint presentation and they have not made that contract available. They are saying that it is available and that it is in the office of the Mayor and the Town Clerk, but I think it must be put in front here for public scrutiny. It is not a private entity, the council represents the people of Georgetown, as such, and you have to have these things in the open.”
On the matter of reduced rates, Kuppen said that eventually the company will raise the rates so as to achieve the projections of the investments they would have made.
“They will have to raise the rates, $100 an hour will not do for them. The people of Georgetown are not stupid.”
One of the protesters said that government, particularly President David Granger, needs to act and protect the poor people of Guyana.
“It must be scrapped! We have a President who goes on television and says ‘I would like to see.’ What we would like to see is the President being affirmative…coming in, making an order, abolishing the contract, leaving it aside.”
Businessman Troy Parbu, owner of Creation Crafts on Water Street said that the parking meters have negatively affected business, as persons had been afraid of being bullied and clamped. He said that after the suspension of penalties, business has picked up a bit.
“Maximum usage of the place is not as before, but it is coming back. But with the parking meter, it ceased. People found one place to go, in and out, if they can’t, they stopped. Even myself, I don’t support parking meters, so I send someone on a bicycle to do what I want. Now that it has been relaxed, people are coming, but the minute they start with the clamping and so forth, then everything goes back to the way it was, no business at all.”
The protest was attended by a number of private sector employers and employees representing a wide cross-section of society. The action which began at noon ended in similar fashion to the previous two, whereby persons sang a stanza of the National Anthem before dispersing.
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