Parking meter burden
…Police ordered to protect citizens’ vehicles from SCS
In light of the Georgetown Mayor & City Council’s inability to enact the recommended three-month suspension of the parking meter project, Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan was on Tuesday directed to immediately suspend the by-laws governing the project.
The directive was given by Cabinet, which also instructed Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan to advise the Commissioner of Police to ensure that as of today, Wednesday, March 22, 2017, citizens and their vehicles would receive the protection of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) to prevent them and/or their vehicles from being unduly hindered or restrained in any way, by the Council or parking meter company Smart City Solutions (SCS).
At Monday’s special statutory meeting, City Councillors could not agree on whether or not to adhere to Government’s recommendations to suspend the project for three months, to allow for a review. Town Clerk Royston King had contended that the three-month suspension constituted a breach of contract.
Communities Minister Bulkan, through a letter late last week, directed the Mayor and City Council to have the by-laws suspended, pending review.
As such, a special statutory meeting was convened based on the advice of the Town Clerk given the urgency to discuss Minister Bulkan’s order.
But, according to acting Mayor Sherod Duncan, Monday’s meeting covered a host of unrelated issues.
“I will not be calling another extraordinary statutory meeting…we met and we discussed nothing pertaining to the substantive item on the agenda, which was the Minister’s order,” the acting Mayor noted.
He stressed that it was now up to sitting Mayor Patricia Chase Green to preside over future meetings.
“The Mayor comes back over the weekend and we have a monthly statutory meeting on Monday and maybe it [will be] ventilated there,” he noted.
Meanwhile, traversing the city streets on Tuesday afternoon, Guyana Times saw the clamped wheels of several motor vehicles.
On Monday, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Councillors moved to have the decision on the Minister’s request postponed contending that the Council needed time to study the legal advice they received regarding Minister Bulkan’s order.
Also on Monday, a few of the Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM) protesters braved the weather and stated clearly that City Hall must revoke the contract. Additionally, High Court Judge, Justice Brassignton Reynolds, by consent, added the Mexican parking meter company as a respondent in the Mohendra Arjune legal challenge against the legality of the contract.
Arjune’s Attorney, Kamal Ramkarran has the next several days to file an affidavit in reply to SCS and another affidavit in defence filed by Town Clerk King.
The matter will again be heard on April 10 for reports and submissions.
Signed in 2016, the parking meter contract rolled out to much controversy in January 2017.