The Georgetown Mayor and City Council has decided that it will be re-engaging the citizens of Georgetown to discuss the issue of paid parking within the City. This is according to Deputy Mayor and Acting Mayor Sherod Duncan who is filling
in for Mayor Patricia Chase-Green. The Mayor is out of the jurisdiction.
It was reported that Cabinet on Tuesday had decided to ask Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan, to recommend to the M&CC a three-month suspension of the parking meter project and to use that time to speak with protesters against the project.
Six protests have since been organised in-front of City Hall by the apolitical group, Movement Against Parking Meters.
According to Duncan, yesterday, government has made such communication to the council through the Ministry of Communities and Minister Bulkan. Duncan said, “He has been in touch with us and we will re-engage citizens of Georgetown on the matter of paid parking.”
The Acting Mayor said that the intervention by Government is welcomed and as a municipality, at the end of the day it only wants what is best for all the citizens.
“If it is the government’s view that more can be done on the matter, then as a local government entity working with central government in the best interest of all the citizens we will re-look at what we’ve done so far and hopefully at the end of the day come out with what is in the best interest of all.”
Asked whether City Hall has informed Smart City Solutions (SCS), the company which signed the parking meter contract, about the decision to re-engage the citizens of Georgetown, Duncan said that he is certain contact with the company will be made shortly.
He said that the communication with the company must go through the office of the Town Clerk since Mr Royston King is the person through which the council enters into contracts and as such is the point person.
When asked how soon the three-month suspension will go into effect, Duncan said that he believes it may begin following the Mayor’s return on March 25, 2017.
The company, yesterday, circulated a statement to media houses saying that it has not received any instruction or any official word in respect to taking action to suspend the GeoPark project from the M&CC.
Based on this, the company said that it plans to continue to operate and enforce the project in accordance with its obligations under the Georgetown Metered Parking Project contract.
Speaking with Public Relations Consultant for SCS, Kit Nascimento, this newspaper was told that despite the company not receiving any official notice from the government or the M&CC, it remains willing to sit down and have a discussion with any group that has a concern with the project.
Further, he said that the Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM) which has organised six protests so far against the project, has not made any attempt to meet with the company and discuss any of the movement’s pressing concerns.
Meanwhile, the MAPM in a statement yesterday said that it is heartened by the recent recommendation of the Government of Guyana to suspend the parking meter contract. However, the group said that it will continue its public call to revoke the contract and the bylaws in their current forms.
The MAPM said that it is not against a structured system for traffic regulation within the city, inclusive of measures to facilitate the orderly parking of vehicles while simultaneously raising revenue.
Nevertheless, the group stands firm that the project is an imposition on the Guyanese people and did not benefit from a feasibility and social impact study and has breached Guyana’s procurement regulations.
In addition, the group believes that the bylaws which were signed into being by Minister Bulkan are oppressive and infringes on the constitutional rights of every Guyanese. “For these reasons, the MAPM will continue to reject this project in its entirety and will not accept any action less than a full revocation of the contract and bylaws.”
One of the issues which the group has had with the project is the enforcement activity by employees of the company whereby motorists’ vehicles are being clamped for failing to pay for parking and parking in an unmetered parking space with a metered zone.
Only recently a member of the group and Attorney-at-Law, Pauline Chase, had her vehicle clamped for parking on the parapet infront of her Chambers and not in a designated parking space at 217 South Street, Lacytown.
Immobilization devices or ‘boots’ were affixed to two other vehicles within yards of the Attorney’s Chambers, one belonging to her secretary, while other vehicles similarly parked were not affixed with the devices.
Chase had filed proceedings against the Town Clerk and Minister of Communities on behalf of the New Building Society challenging the bylaws by which the parking meter project was instituted. This matter is still pending and is expected to be called before Justice Brassington Reynolds on March 20, 2017.
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