Parking meter saga
Despite the recent vote by the City Council in favour of a renegotiated parking meter contract with Mexican company Smart City Solutions (SCS), Georgetown Mayor Patricia Chase Green on Tuesday evening said she will play no part in the process which could see changes in the deal’s originally agreed terms.
“I don’t know what you can expect; I’ve divorced myself completely from any negotiations with this. Again, I will not be part of that committee,” the Mayor pointedly stated.
On Thursday, September 7, 2017, thirteen members of the Council voted for a renegotiated contract with SCS while five voted to scrap it and seven voted to wait until the completion of court proceedings. It was one month after Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan suspended the paid parking initiative, that a Parking Meter Committee was established on April 26, 2017. Its members consist of Chairman Malcolm Ferreira, Roopnarine Persaud, Vice Chairman Noelle Chow-Chee, Ivelaw Henry, Trichria Richards, Carlyle Goring, and Heston Bostwick.
“I cannot speak for Mr King but I can speak for myself and say that I will not be a part of that renegotiating team,” – Georgetown Mayor
At last week’s extraordinary meeting, the Mayor had said that Town Clerk Royston King’s statement about the negotiating committee overstepping its mandate was just his opinion and would not influence the work of the Council or its decision.
Further highlighting the issues surrounding the parking meter contract, which attracted wide criticism and controversy, Mayor Chase Green told Guyana Times on Tuesday that even though the Town Clerk and the City’s Treasurer, Ron McAlmont, are on the negotiating committee, the two cannot vote on matters.
“I read in the papers today (Tuesday) that Mr King and the Treasurer are part of the committee but they don’t have voting rights but Mr King according to law is the responsible person for all documentation of the records of Council but in the last committee, Mr King did not partake in that process. He would have appointed someone and the law gives him that right,” she clarified.
Chase Green said last week she felt that the Committee had fulfilled its mandate and further congratulated them on the work they would have completed. But on Tuesday she was adamant that the renegotiations will be conducted without her input.
“I cannot speak for Mr King but I can speak for myself and say that I will not be a part of that renegotiating team,” she stressed.
The Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) had entered into a contract with Smart City Solutions Inc on May 13, 2016, for parking meters to be implemented in Georgetown. After the rollout of the initiative earlier this year, mass protests followed against what many felt were exorbitant fees and overreaching penalties.
The Negotiating Committee had Terms of Reference (ToR) which were drafted and voted upon by the majority of members of the M&CC. The ToR provides the Committee with the authority to “engage with all stakeholders within the parameters of the framework agreed upon by the Council, Cabinet and Smart City Solutions (SCSI) to seek to determine what terms of the Agreement can and should be negotiated to bring the contract in harmony with the desires of the Council, Central Government, SCSI and the citizenry.
The life of the Parking Meter Re-negotiation Committee ended with it submitted its final report and finding to the Mayor of Georgetown on August 2, 2017, and later circulated to all Councillors.