A number of businesses in Georgetown protested against the parking meters yesterday by closing their doors for one hour – between noon and 13:00hrs. The Movement against Parking Meters (MAPM) had encouraged companies to show support in this manner through their social media outreach.
Among the businesses closed were included Coffee Bean, Graphic Master, Universal Travel, Clairans and Outdoor Store on Church Street; Beepats and M. Phagoo and Sons on Regent Street along with Muneshwers Limited on Water Street, Narine’s Liquor Store and Digicom on Robb Street and Kojac Marketing on Quamina Street.
The closure was a last-minute move according to Dr. Rahaman. He said that the MAPM had wanted to have the businesses closed for next week’s demonstration.
“Next week is when we plan to do that fully, because we’re just working on social media, so we’re not reaching a whole lot of people as much as we want to, but we’re planning to actually get on the ground a bit more and do more interaction.”
Yesterday marked the fourth silent protest organised by the apolitical group, which was attended by a growing number of supporters from a wide cross-section of businesses, their employees and civil society members.
Present at the protest was People’s Progressive Party member of parliament, Dr. Vindhya Persaud who said that the parking meter project completely disregarded the consultation process and highlighted that another worrying fact is that much of the Guyanese dollar would be taken out of the country.
She acknowledged the two court orders relating to the project and found it worrying that Smart City Solutions and the Georgetown Mayor and City Council are flouting the orders.
In both court actions, an order nisi was granted, which means that persons need to prove why a specific order should not be changed. The order serves as a stay on the project, and it was said by one lawyer close to the MAPM that SCS and M&CC would be in contempt of that order or, at the very least, contemptuous.
According to Dr. Persaud, this aspect of the matter needs to be looked at seriously since the company and the municipality are proceeding with the project. She said that due process and litigation must take place as it relates to the two entities flouting the court orders.
One of the two matters involves the New Building Society Limited challenging the placing of parking meters outside of 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 – 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 arguments justifying the project.
According to the PPP parliamentarian the Mayor Chase-Green and the council will have to listen to the voice of the people, particularly since numbers are growing.
“Because if they don’t do it, where is the democracy that we talked about and that is a very serious thing. When you live in a democratic society, people need to be allowed to have their voices heard, and these are the citizens of the country. If they are ignored then I don’t think more can be said other than a no-confidence in the Mayor and City Council, and I think that is the next step.”
Motorists are being forced to pay $9,280 to release their vehicles, despite the company and the M&CC announcing recently that enforcement would have been relaxed until consultation exercises were completed.
During a walk along Robb Street yesterday, one minibus GPP 2998, belonging to Chenfend Fu, was seen clamped. Meanwhile, a large number of SCS staff congregated at Republic Bank Limited on Camp Street, armed with clamps, and ready to boot vehicles belonging to persons breaching paid parking regulations.
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