Mar 21, 2017 News
‘It was a national embarrassment’ – attorney-at-law
Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan is disappointed with the move made by the Mayor and
City Council to further delay its decision regarding the suspension of the parking meter by-laws.
In an invited comment last evening, Bulkan said that he extremely displeased with the course of action taken by councillors of the Georgetown Municipality.
Even though the Minister, acting on the request of Cabinet, ordered that the Georgetown Parking Meter By-Laws be suspended for three months, there was much hesitation on the part of City Councillors to execute the Minister’s wishes.
Reacting to the news of City Hall’s latest decision, Bulkan asserted, “I don’t think that it was wise for them to go down that road.”
Speaking with Kaieteur News, the Minister said that while the council is not compelled to accept the decision made by him, refusing to accept such would be quite “unwise”.
Asked what course of action would be taken, should City Hall refuse to suspend the by-laws as requested by the Government, Bulkan was apprehensive to say.
“Let’s not go too far ahead of ourselves,” the Minister cautioned. He added, “We’ll perhaps have to cross that bridge when we get to it.”
Meanwhile, Pauline Chase, the attorney-at-law representing New Building Society’s interest against the parking meter company, referred to postponement of the council’s decision as “a national embarrassment.”
The lawyer, who was present during city council’s extraordinary statutory meeting yesterday, shared the views of a few of the councilmen and women, who believe that a direct order from the Minister of Communities is by extension, a direct order from Cabinet and President David Granger.
“…because the Minister has given a direction that is very clear, but yet, council seems to be wanting to evade…and perhaps buy time, and I don’t understand why,” Chase said.
The attorney added that because of the delay in making a decision, “people are suffering on the road, so they should have acted with some kind of expediency,” she added.
Meanwhile, a few of the city councillors, including those from the opposition camp, are adamant that the Minister could not have erred in his interpretation of the laws, since he is being advised by some of the best legal minds in the country, who are also members of Cabinet.
As yesterday’s three-hour-long extraordinary statutory meeting was in progress, a group of protestors from the Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM) braved the rains to gather, as they now customarily do, outside of City Hall on Regent Street, calling for the full revocation of the parking meter project.
The MAPM had welcomed the decision by Minister Bulkan to suspend the Georgetown Metered Parking By-Laws for three-months with effect from March 17, 2017.
“We also applaud the quick action of His Worship, Mr. Sherod Duncan, Acting Mayor of the City of Georgetown, in calling the requisite extraordinary statutory meeting of the Council fixed for Monday, March 20, 2017, to give effect to the said Order of the Honourable Minister,” a MAPM release stated.
It came as a disappointment to many of the protestors who had hopes that Duncan would’ve been instrumental in having the order brought into effect.
Duncan has often maintained, however, that his involvement in the protests against metered parking would not clash with him carrying out his duties as a councilman, governed by municipality laws.
The MAPM media statement went on to add, nonetheless, “In this vein, we trust that the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown and Smart City Solutions (SCS) will adhere to this lawful Order of the Honourable Minister and take all necessary steps to give effect to it.”
The grouping, said that it will remain resolute in its call for complete revocation and will continue its protest action until this objective is achieved.
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