The High Court on Thursday paved the way for a judicial review of the parking meter agreement, but if City Hall refuses to challenge the legal action the order will be made absolute.
Chief Justice, Yonette Cummings- Edwards on Thursday granted an order nisi of certiorari quashing a parking meter agreement unless the Mayor and City Council and the Town Clerk show cause against the quashing of the said decision.
Legal sources said the order does not mean that City Hall and Smart City Solutions have to cease operating the parking meters, but allows the parties an opportunity to argue their points before the court.
Based on an application made by Mohender Arjune, Reynolds granted the order against the Mayor and Councillors and the Town Clerk to show cause why the following decisions should not be quashed:
- enter into an agreement on or around 13 May 2016 and to make any amendment thereto for the establishment of parking meters in the City of Georgetown with Smart City Solutions Inc and all acts and things thereafter which flowed from that decision
- empowering and authorising the Town Clerk of Georgetown to sign and operationalise contracts with Smart City Solutions for the establishment of parking meters in Georgetown and all acts and those done or caused to be done thereafter flowing from that decision
- anyone acting by or through them or under their directions or instruction or on their behalf to exempt persons or categories of persons from parking in Georgetown and being subject to penalties for parking the City without paying fees
The respondents have until February 27, 2017 file court papers to show cause why the order should not be quashed.
The order was issued the same day on which Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM) held its largest protest ever outside City Hall.
MAPM wants the agreement revoked on grounds that its terms and conditions are unfair and too burdensome. They said the deal also lacks transparency and sells out the city’s parking to a foreign company.
City Hall says the deal is the best that they could have gotten in exchange for a US$10 million investment by Smart City Solutions. The Council says it will get 20 percent gross revenues.
Vexatious provisions of the agreement include an almost automatic renewal for another 20 years, the right to purchase land that has been assigned to SCS for garage parking and no liability for damage to vehicles during booting or towing.