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Legal action against parking meters looms; citizens demand scrapping of deal, not reduction of fees

Legal action is being planned  against the parking meters by several persons and groups to scrap the deal between City Hall and Smart City Solutions (SCS), even if government intervenes and lowers the rate, according to representatives of the Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM).

Attorney-at-Law, Nadia Sagar.

Attorney-at-Law, Nadia Sagar, who is part of MAPM, said she was aware of legal moves to take City Hall and SCS to the High Court. “Legal action is going to be taken. Things don’t happen overnight. There are several entities that are pursuing action through different attorneys,” she said.

Although the Guyana government appeared set to intervene by asking City Hall and SCS to reduce the fees, MAPM said that would not be sufficient because of the absence of competitive bidding, consultation, due diligence on the company and social impact assessment. “What we support is a parking system and metering is just part of a parking system and what we have is a parking meter arrangement that was illegally done,” said former President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Komal Ramnauth.

Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson hoped that dialogue between City Hall and the public sector would yield a positive outcome. “I am pretty sure that the persons at City Hall will take cognisance of the mood around town. I am pretty sure that they would be willing to sit down and talk. I am pretty confident in that,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.

Sagar said MAPM would not be a party to the court actions being prepared by the private entities. She could not say how soon court papers would be filed.  She noted that the Municipal and District Councils Act provide for bylaws to be submitted to the Minister for approval and at least 14 days before request for approval, a notice of intention should be published. “We are not aware that any of that has been done so there is no evidence that the procedure required to make these bylaws legally enforceable were ever adhered to,” she said.

MAPM officials called on government to revoke the agreement between the Mayor ad City Council and SCS on the grounds that there was no open competitive bidding process and the fact that the bylaws provide for SCS to eventually sell vehicles that have been towed away and impounded if the motorist or owner does not pay all the booting, towing and storage fees within 90 days.

“We are advocating that instead of the City breaking the contract, starve the green monsters and if you don’t support it SCS will have to pull out on their own because they will not be able to financially upkeep themselves. Whatever the terms are, whatever the penalty is if the City don’t break the contract then, then they will not have to pay,” Ramnauth told a news conference organised by MAPM and held at the GCCI’s headquarters.

At right, Komal Ramnauth

Anti-parking meter organisers claimed that motorists are losing an additional GYD$36 on every card, in addition to the 14 percent Value Added Tax.

They pointed to a review by the Ministry of Finance that had found that the original contract had contained sufficient grounds for it to be revoked subject to legal implications. The review cited the need for  feasibility study that includes analyses of demand, socio-economic cost-benefit and risks as well as technological options.

The Government of Guyana had, prior to an amendment of the contract to provide for a minimum GYD$50 per 15 minutes,  labelled the rates outlandish and that there was no available background of the company.

MAPM said SCS representatives were clamping/booting vehicles indiscriminately because they are being paid a commission.

The Private Sector Commission (PSC) says the activation of parking meters in the City has caused a massive slowdown in the wholesale and retail sector of Georgetown. However, City Mayor Patricia Chase-Green has said that the feedback she has been receiving is that businesses are happy with the impact of the parking meters.

City Hall says it is cash-strapped and the 20 percent gross revenue from parking and associated fees will go a long way to funding the rehabilitation and maintenance of Georgetown.

  • Col123

    I just love these young folksy academicians who are flaunting it. It’s the power of having a good education…Go for it. Post where we can send money…

  • Anil Persaud

    that the way to go the mcc and gov’t got a wake-up call people will not be bullied any longer we the people

  • Kaieteur_Canada

    I support starving them crazy baldheads outta town. Average slave wage salaries in Guyana is comparative to 1/6 Canadian while these parking meter vultures are charging 1/2 our parking fees when converted to $CDN.
    Right price should be around 41c per hr ($82/hr or $20 for 15mins) not $50
    And tax is included on our parking fees not a separate charge.

    • Col123

      You coming around slowly…the boys didn’t give you any job…

  • Guyana The Hellhole !

    d 1st ting 2 b done is 2 get an injunction
    no judge in his right mind will allow SCS to remove all their meters and suffer all their losses at dis time
    the least dat will b done is reduced rates,and a more liberal policy regarding clamping and booting
    certain sections of the – schools,churches and other important spots will have no
    meters

  • Lance Vance

    we get rid of one stupid green & get a more stupid & dumb green,MAPM should not sit down & talk ,green & company did sit & talk ,MAPN must go to the court & scrap the crap.

  • Lance Vance

    City Mayor Patricia Chase-Green has said that the feedback she has been receiving is that businesses are happy with the impact of the parking meters.THIS WOMAN LIE THROW HER TEETH & WERE EVER .

  • rudeo

    The vulgarity of lying Royston King…..he is just fit for the stinkiest heap around town….the Green lady has painted herself in a corner….the lot of them never conceived anti-protesting groups ……with every protest being labelled PPP opposition…it is refreshing to see the maturity and unity of Guyanese raise their backs against common evil…..I can see them wickedly disallowing permission for private parking lots to be established….a la opposite Parliament building in Hadfield Street….soldier boy has to reign in these run-away broncos

  • Col123

    The reality is the city permitted those buildings. It’s the greedy business folks who put themselves in that position to build in the congested filthy city. The outskirts is cheap to sustain with ample available space . Business folks forgot the looting which occurred in the city… more of that soon come…