President David Granger on Monday signaled the need for “parking lots” in Georgetown, but stayed clear of any direct reference to the controversial parking meter issue.
Addressing a sitting of the full Georgetown City Council at City Hall, the Guyanese leader listed several items that he suggested the municipality’s elected decision-makers should consider putting in place.
“Let us have bus and taxi terminals, parking lots to curb the traffic congestion but particularly to protect pedestrians who sometimes have to compete with dray carts, animals, motorcycles, piles of sand, debris, building waste and traffic in order to go about their business in the City,” he said.
The Guyanese leader is already on record as suggesting that the proposed rates for the parking meter service would be too burdensome. Now, he wants the City Council and Central Government to hold talks about the level of taxation. “I would like the City to sit with the Ministry of Communities to ensure that taxation is not burdensome but that taxation sustains so it doesn’t fall into debt,” he said.
City Mayor, Patricia Chase-Green told Demerara Waves Online News that she does not know how long a review of the agreement between City Hall and National Parking Systems/ Smart City Solutions by central government would take. The Finance Minister, Winston Jordan; Attorney General, Basil Williams and Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan have been tasked with examining the agreement for any illegalities.
Without referring to the brouhaha over the parking meter proposal, the President said those complaining about new ways of earning more money should not worry once there is openness. “Some people complain and they will always complain about new financial measures. Well, as long as those measures are transparent and they are approved by the council and that they are in the national interest, I am sure that the central government will lend its support,” he said.
Deputy Mayor, Sherod Duncan has been at the forefront of criticising the process towards the introduction of parking meters, saying there has been no consultation and a lack of transparency. He has said that preliminary research shows that the companies have no track record in providing such a service in any other country.
Duncan has said that he does not oppose the idea of parking meters.
The President congratulated the Georgetown City Council and urged that it be an exemplar to other towns. He called for a shared responsibility among residents, service providers and other businesses to ensure there is proper sanitation and drainage to avert the dangers of mosquito-borne diseases such as chikungunya, dengue, zika, malaria and filaria.
The City Mayor and Town Clerk have said that the US$10 million investment by the company would yield about 100 jobs and 20 percent of gross earnings. At least 100 persons are expected to be employed by the company to operate the high-tech parking meter system.