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Deputy Mayor to opt for silence if Cabinet approves parking meter proposal

Deputy Mayor, Sherod Duncan on Tuesday said if cabinet gives the green light to the parking meter proposal, he would stay silent but would not back down from his concerns that there was no transparency and the companies are little known.

Duncan said he supports the need for parking meters to earn revenue and regulate the overflow of traffic across the city, but he was concerned about the process. “My concern is about how this whole issue has been rolled out and it seems to have secrecy at every turn so if Cabinet is comfortable with that and the arrangement, then I have nothing to say on the matter further,” he said.

Asked whether he would take any further action if Cabinet is happy with the proposal, the Deputy Mayor said “for the time being.”

Duncan said he found it strange that the mayors of Panama City and Mexico City have not endorsed the company, Smart City Solutions/National Parking Systems, or shared their views. The Deputy Mayor said, too, that the company which was set to earn the bulk of the revenue has not defended its reputation. “We (City Council) are standing to earn 20 percent from this parking meter business and the company stands to earn 80 percent majority in terms of their earnings, yet I didn’t see them holding a press conference stating all the reasons why they are bona fide and they are the ones who should be going out there,” said Duncan who is associated with the Alliance For Change (AFC), the smaller partner in the central government coalition.

Minister responsible for Local Government, Ronald Bulkan has said that a group of four councilors with whom he has recently met has expressed concern that the majority of the revenue would be going to the investor rather than the municipality. “We recognise the need and necessity for traffic management but it can’t be viewed in isolation and the central consideration by the councilors, who have expressed their concerns to me, relates to if maximum revenues will derive from this initiative to the council,” Bulkan has said.

City Mayor, Patricia Chase-Green, who headed a team to Mexico to look at the parking meter systems there, has reportedly said that the municipality would not be spending any money to bring the US$10 million high-tech parking meter system to Georgetown.

She said the project would begin rolling out on September 1, 2016.

Chase-Green has reportedly said that the contract between the company and the municipality is a “private document of the administration” and copies would not be given out for fear that it would get into the wrong hands. ”

“We took a deliberate decision not to share the contract because we wanted to secure investment. This is because of bad experiences with sharing contracts, proposals and initiatives, only to have them taken away from the Council, she said.

City Hall officials touted the deal with Smart City Solutions/ National Parking Systems as the best one because the company would be employing more than 100 persons and paying 20 percent earnings to the municipality. “They have to pay us before they deal with their expenses and we can monitor their earnings in real time. No other company offered this type of arrangement,”  Town Clerk, Royston King said.