The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) wishes to add its voice and concern to the proposed Georgetown parking meter issue currently receiving widespread attention in Guyana and in the Diaspora.
Given the pronouncements that have been expressed, it is clear to FITUG that this project was not fully and seriously considered.
FITUG acknowledges the need for our capital – indeed our townships – to enjoy good order, attractiveness and efforts to address growing congestion. However, efforts by the rightful authorities should not be considered in isolation since these efforts will impact our citizens and visitors who live and frequent our city.
Former Minister Henry Jeffrey has correctly pointed out that the secrecy of the contract guarded by the Mayor and her senior cohorts does not allow taxpayers a clear understanding of the financial outlays and the projected earnings of the parking meters enterprise.
Many knowledgeable individuals have already predicted woeful disadvantages for owners of vehicles who are obliged to be in the City for extended periods daily. We note with interest that the President has described the initial fees announced as burdensome and we expect that he will encourage the Mayor and, at least, the City Councillors of his party, to abort the ill-conceived project.
Imagine the additional financial burden that must be borne by the ordinary taxi and minibus owners; the delivery vans, persons making simple purchases or visiting certain city hospitals, etc, if the scheme is implemented.
FITUG is of the view that this project will add little, if anything at all, to urban renewal. An idea that has possibilities is to establish adequate parking lots. It should be publicly discussed and certainly studied for its advisability.
From the perspective of FITUG, we cannot see how the parking meter scheme will have any, if at all, positive impressions on the lives of our working people. We are not oblivious to the fact that this project is likely to come when the working class is already requested to contend with increasing taxes and an economy that is underperforming.
Further, our experiences show that the taxi driver, the businesses, etc which will have to pay the metered rate will surely seek to pass on this new cost to their hapless customers – often the poor. There must be other acceptable avenues for revenue earning and other possibilities to deal with the traffic question. The fact that this “meters” approach was mooted many years ago but was not implemented seems to us that better sense prevailed and the authorities of that time were sensitive to the adverse effects of such a scheme.
FITUG supports the contention that there should be more transparency and accountability from the Mayor and City Council.
They should take steps to dispel the view that this, in any way, is a secret undertaking by some Councillors of one political group of the Georgetown City Council. Having considered the various opinions proffered and in our consideration, FITUG supports the stance that this project should not be pursued.
Unions of Guyana