Project constitutes “criminality”– Gaskin

Parking meter burden

as frustrations persist over metered parking in the Capital city, demonstrators are being urged to remain resolute in their stance against the project which continues to attract widespread controversy since its inception in January. This call was reiterated by political commentator Ramon Gaskin, who has expressed grave overview of the entire project.ramon gaskin

“I think it is a good thing that people are protesting against it because first of all it is illegal, burdensome criminal agreement. The people should protest until the parking meters are removed from this country,” Gaskin stated.

Gaskin made these comments at the most recent demonstration against the project which was organised by the Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM) group, which was formed in response to the public outcry over the Parking Meter Project. Gaskin told <<<Guyana Times>>> that the Georgetown Mayor and City Council must respond to the protest actions.

“They’re not budging yet and because of that we have to keep up the pressure and keep up the struggle until they remove from this country, it’s as simple as that,” he noted.

At last Thursday’s protest, retired international commodities dealer Quinn Anderson concurred with the sentiments of Gaskin and called for international donor agencies from the European Union, United States and Canada to withhold their funding until a more transparent process is rolled out. The businessman’s comments related to the secretive nature of City Hall’s contract with Smart City Solutions Inc (SCSI).

At the protest, demonstrators pranced to the Dave Martins ballad, “Postpone” which highlighted many of the noted burdensome measures meted out to the public. The song which was played by a push-cart vendor, called on the relevant authorities to rescind the contract which was signed between three members of the City Council and Town Clerk, Royston King last year.

“Stay” application ruling

Meanwhile, the legality of the Parking Meter Project in the Capital city will soon be determined as Justice Brassington Reynolds had ruled last week that the court has jurisdiction to rule over prerogative writs. But first the Judge will on Monday hand down a ruling on a “stay” application which was brought by Attorney Kamal Ramkarran, who is representing Mohendra Arjune, the complainant who brought the case against City Hall, challenging the legality of the project.

On Thursday last, Counsel Ramkarran called for a ‘stay’ on the paid parking initiative, whereby a pause will be placed on the Parking Meter Contract so that motorists will not be charged or fined. However, Roger Yearwood who is the Attorney representing City Council and the Town Clerk countered that the Order Nisi does not facilitate “interim or interlocutory relief,” and reiterated that the case followed crown-side proceedings and not civil proceedings.

Justice Reynolds had then placed before the court the option for the two parties to have a discussion to provide relief to the citizens pending the outcome of the ruling by High Court or whether they would prefer to cancel the initiative. But in response, Attorney for Smart City Solutions, Stephen Fraser had posited that the relief for the period would be allowed for Mohendra Arjune only as he is the lone complainant.

A court order violation?

The Order Nisi as granted by the then acting Chief Justice Yonnette Cummings-Edwards on February 16 had stated that the project be halted until the Mayor or Town Clerk provided the requisite response. It had also revoked “the decision of the Mayor and Councillors and anyone acting by or through them or under their directions or instructions or on their behalf to exempt persons or categories of persons from paying fees for parking in the City of Georgetown and being subject to penalties for parking in Georgetown.” However, parking meter operatives continue to boot the motor vehicles of some operates who opt against paying the parking meter fees. Hours before Thursday’s protest, some 60 parking meter attendants were sworn in before the Town Clerk.

Legal minds had noted that if the City continued to boot vehicles, this would be contempt of court. However, Attorney for City Council, Yearwood had argued that City Council must not be given less than 30 days prior to the instituting of proceedings. The parking meters rolled out to much criticism on January 24 but the protest against it continues.