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Parking meters protest grows despite promise to reduce parking fees

Crowd shot of today’s protest crowd.

The Movement Against Parking Meters continues to build its support as hundreds gathered today once again outside the Georgetown City Hall to protest the implementation of a parking meter system deemed “burdensome.”

Noticeably, there were no counter-protesters at this action, as compared to the last protest earlier in the month. Some of the more prominent protesters said they were not opposed to the parking meter system altogether.

Instead, they had reservations about the timing of the implementation considering Guyana’s local economic situation, or the lack of a proper procurement process.

“I am not opposed to the parking meter,” wealthy businessman Roshan Khan told Demerara Waves Online News, adding, “it should be at the right time. When we reach a certain economic status [or] when we have the oil money flowing.”

Wealthy businessman, Rosh Khan

Khan pointed out the difficulty for the less fortunate citizen to acquire a car loan, then have to pay “an entire month’s installment for paid parking. It is complete absolute ridiculosity.”

He said both the Georgetown City Council and David Granger administration have forgotten “they are hired by the people and the people can fire them.” “This thing need to go,” Khan said emphatically, “the Guyanese people need to breathe.”

Civil rights activist and columnist, Freddie Kissoon, said he ideologically objects to the parking meters in the context of the nature of the local economy.

“Theoretically, I think parking meters is a modern phenomenon,” Kissoon told Demwaves while standing with placard on the protest line today, “but people pay for anything in the context of whether they can afford to pay for it.”

Kissoon said the local economy does not allow for the population to pay for parking since those who would pay for parking are ordinary working people who have cell phones, microwaves, and cars, which have nothing to do with their ability to pay.

John Welshman, who became visible to the public when he levelled a sexual offense allegation against a former Speaker of the National Assembly.

“Our economy cannot sustain it, and what I think is tragic and sad is that nobody did the analysis six months ago,” Kissoon noted further, making the observation that, “people are protesting against something that is an imposition and fundamentally burdensome.”

Meanwhile, former Georgetown Town Clerk, Carol Sooba, said the current protests at city hall show why she was demonised. “I was demonised because the people have to get their way to do whatever they wanted to do,” Sooba said.

Former Georgetown Town Clerk, Carol Sooba, who was fired after the David Granger administration took office in 2015.

Sooba, while serving as Georgetown’s chief executive officer under the former People’s Progressive Party (PPP) government, found herself regularly in confrontations with former Mayor Hamilton Green, his councillors, and now-Georgetown Town Clerk, Royston King, who had his eyes set on the Town Clerk position since his days as council’s Public Relations Officer.

Sooba’s appointment was subject to many a court battle, and city council resolutions reducing the legitimacy of her post.

Although Sooba was dismissed in 2015, she will return as a Local Government Commissioner. Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo named her one of his three nominees to that Commission. The other two nominees are former local government ministers Norman Whittaker, and Clinton Collymore.

Former Speaker of the National Assembly, Ralph Ramkarran SC.

“I haven’t read the by-laws, but what I’ve seen printed about them in the papers and elsewhere, they are indeed onerous,” prominent lawyer and former National Assembly Speaker, Ralph Ramkarran told Demwaves today. “This is horrendous [and] it is not going to be accepted, and City Council should wake up and understand that.”

Since the first protest last Friday, Georgetown mayor Patricia Chase-Green and Town Clerk Royston King have met with President David Granger, Attorney General Basil Williams SC, and Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan to discuss concerns raised by citizens.

A release from the Ministry of the Presidency, last evening, noted a possible reduction in the fees charged for paid parking. Recently, State Minister Joseph Harmon said although the parking by-laws were being implemented, they were still to receive the Attorney General’s review, and final recommendation from Cabinet.

  • Anil Persaud

    large and peaceful protest today good to see so many persons taking time out from their busy schedules we the people

  • BeFair_SeeClear

    There is no doubt that this government within a short period has served itself an eviction notice come 2020….they made all the wrong moves ,,,bad timing, bad timing….come 2020 we’ll be back to square 1 with the worse of the two evils,,,PPP

  • Col123

    Demerara waves: I am frequent reader of your reports . I find it insulting to many, especially to my Afro American family and friends when you refer to Mr Frederick Kissoon as a civil rights activist. You have devalued and diminish the struggle of those, especially of African heritage, who gave their lives fighting for the basic civil rights of people . There isn’t enough space here to express my thoughts and reasons why I am calling you out on this, despite your freedom to do so. Suffice to say that his commentarys , social activities and I dare say, the company he keeps , simply will soil the the history of our black leaders who fought for our rights.

  • Michael Grey

    Shut yo ass…. this is parking meters Guyana uniting against… keep to the topic….

    • Col123

      Thanks Mike…The dude ead haad..

  • Michael Grey

    Didnt AFC tried that??? Then, for the love of power and their selfish gains, they collate with PNC….

  • ChosenNChrist

    “State Minister Joseph Harmon said although the parking by-laws were being implemented, they were still to receive the Attorney General’s review, and final recommendation from Cabinet.” Why implement before the final recommendations?
    :(. The deal was crooked, and there was one LOUD voice against it from the inception which was not heeded. What are our options for 2020? Where are our visionaries?

  • Col123

    Your definition of an activist…hang on to it..

  • Col123

    You asked the right question about what I mean by ” black strggles”…hold on to the Guyanese definition… I have a wider version.

  • Col123

    I am living the good life bro…

  • Col123

    Yea..seems like you jealous…go suck up to Naggie and Jhaatie.,, them gon help you out!.. Grangie gon give you the best life…

  • Col123

    Do you mean to say feddie is not black?… like you color blind boy!.. the chap blacker than some of my brothas…