…company registered week before signing contract
…Mayor, Town Clerk run scared, no- show at Town Hall meeting
The Georgetown Mayor and City Council and Smart City Solutions may very well be in contempt of court if the two entities proceed with resuming the operation of the parking meter project tomorrow.
This is according to attorney-at-law Pauline Chase, a member of the Movement Against Parking Meters. Chase was at the time fielding questions at the Town Hall Public Forum on parking meters at the Saint Stanislaus College yesterday.
She was asked whether there would be legal implications against the M&CC and SCS since there are pending High Court matters calling for the M&CC to show good reason why the contract should not be quashed.
Chase said that what has been ordered by the court in two actions is an ‘order nisi’ which means that persons need to prove why a specific order should not be changed. “As far as my learning is concerned that nisi acts as a stay. So it ought to be stayed and in the very least, any matter before the court, parties should not take any step that would in any way render the proceedings void for any reason.”
She added that the court proceedings call for a stay and any act contrary to that would be in contempt of court or in the very least contemptuous. However, for this, the court would have to be moved by an application to so do.
“I rather suspect that should Smart City Solutions take that step on Monday, you will see an application being moved to the court for contempt.”
At present there are two actions engaging the attention of the court. The first is being led by The New Building Society Limited challenging the placing of parking meters outside its Avenue of the Republic Office.
In that matter Justice Brassington Reynolds ordered Town Clerk Royston King and Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan to make presentations in the High Court tomorrow, arguments as to why the parking meter project should not be rescinded.
The second action is being led by an employee of a law firm in Georgetown. Chief Justice (ag) Yonette Cummings-Edwards in that matter has ordered the Town Clerk Royston King and Mayor Patricia Chase-Green to present similar arguments.
Yesterday, Chase was one of three panellists presenting on the project and answering questions on issues needing clarification. Accompanying her were attorneys-at-law Ronald Burch-Smith and Nadia Sagar.
According to Sagar, the company was registered one week before signing the contract with M&CC on May 13, 2016. “SCS is a local company that was registered here, it has two directors. You cannot tell me that within a week we have carried out sufficient due diligence on a contract involving billions of dollars and essentially allows a company to hijack the city, charge whatever rates they choose cause those rates will be adjusted over time.
“It simply does not make sense. It reeks of corruption. This was a corrupt act.”
One of the attendees to the forum described the project as utter slavery. She said that her salary is just above $100,000 and cannot afford to pay for parking. “I pay my mortgage and I pay for the vehicle that I own and when I calculate my parking meter money it is about 40 something thousand dollars a month. Now that is my grocery bill for the month along with even if I want to go buy a Chinese food.”
She said that it does not take a politician to understand that the parking meters will bleed the population that is already suffering. According to the woman, the project is not for the benefit of Guyanese. The concerned citizen said that with local government there should be consultation with people but none has been done.
Also sharing their view on the issue was Chairman of the Private Sector Commission, Eddie Boyer, who said that there was a Tripartite Commission set up between the government, private sector and the M&CC to advise on ways to generate revenue for the city.
The PSC chairman said that since September there have been four meetings and a number of recommendations were made. “The Private Sector Commission agreed with the council to pay $5000 per shipping container. That $5000 will raise in excess of $300M. I don’t think they realised that much was gonna be raised.”
Boyer said that within the budget of the municipality it was estimated that Georgetown will earn a little above $200M from the project. However, he said, if the option to charge each shipping container was taken up, the M&CC would make more money without lifting a finger.
Missing from the Town Hall meeting were Mayor Patricia Chase-Green and Town Clerk Royston King. The Mayor had rejected the invitation from the Movement to attend the meeting. A statement from the Town Clerk’s office had chided members of the group for their allegedly abusive comments towards the Mayor and other City Officials as one of the reasons for not attending the forum.
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