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Parking meter protest gets bigger despite planned 50 percent cut in rates

Despite an announcement that the parking meter fees would be slashed by 50 percent, Guyanese turned out in larger numbers on Thursday to vent their disgust at the agreement between the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) and Smart City Solutions (SCS).

Many businesses closed their doors and staff used their lunch-hour to  congregate on Regent Street opposite City Hall to let their concerns about the agreement be known.  This is the largest  gathering so far since the protest began two weeks ago.

City Mayor, Patricia Chase-Green’s announcement to representatives of commercial banks that the rate would be slashed from GYD$50 plus 14 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) to about GYD$25 for 15 minutes or just about GYD$100 per hour was rejected by several persons.  Commercial bank workers are also to be provided with parking permits.

In the case of one picketer, he calculated that paying almost GYD$1,000 per day or almost GYD$22,000 per month to park in the city would still be too expensive and said such a revenue generator could not be imported from Developed Nations to Guyana. “”it got to go. It must not stay. We don’t want any parking meter in the town. We are not ready for that because we cannot afford it. This country is a Third World country,” said Patrick Solomon who lives at West Bank Demerara.

From the picket line, a woman disagreed with Mayor Patricia Chase-Green that SCS in reality is not  taking 80 percent of the earnings out of Guyana because that company still has to pay salaries, taxes, social security and other operational costs.

Major concerns are that a foreign company would be taking away 80 percent of the earnings, leaving behind a meager 20 percent for the cash-strapped municipality. “If you need the money, you put up a couple of meters in the middle of the town where it’s congested and we Guyanese will pay the money to you but don’t come and tell me ‘bring a foreigner from somewhere and he is going to pay 80 percent of the money’; that’s not fair. Why am I paying rates and taxes and I can’t park in front of my house anymore, I can’t go the church anymore, I can’t go to the mosque anymore. That’s nonsense just for somebody else to get rich,” Carlene Gill-Kerr told Demerara Waves Online News.

She recommended that the contract be revoked and a promise made to pay off the company when Guyana begins producing oil in 2020/2021. “It’s slavery. Tell them you are going to pay them and when the oil money comes you can pay them off completely,” she said.

Legal experts are having mixed views about whether the agreement between the two parties could be revoked without leaving City Hall with huge liabilities to SCS which has invested at least US$10 million in the project.

With the Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM) stating that the M&CC- SCS deal is a monopoly, Attorney-at-Law, Nadia Sagar acknowledged that there is room for the matter to be taken to the Competition Commission. “It can be challenged as unconstitutional, it can be challenged potentially as anti-competitive and it can go to the Fair Trading Commission. There is nothing stopping that. Whether that is something that we will be doing, it’s open to anyone who has an interest in challenging it through those routes,” she said.

The fallout from the parking meter controversy has already seen SCS firing one of its directors, Kamau Cush, after he made unsavoury remarks about critics of paid parking in the City.

Raquel Caesar-Thomas, one of the MAPM organisers, hopes that Saturday afternoon’s town hall meeting at St. Stanislaus College will provide an opportunity for the Mayor  to “come and let us hear her side of the story” and educate and inform Guyanese.

Thomas-Caesar said the M&CC-SCS contract amounted to sell-out of the City for the provision of parking areas, parking systems without any public tendering. “For me, Guyana has been sold and we need to take it back,” she said and urged City Hall “to listen to the people because if we go through with this Guyana loses, the people loses,” she said.

The New Building Society (NBS) has already challenged the legality of Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan approving the parking meter bylaws without first allowing a statutory period for objections.

  • Gtloyal

    This is what happens when people get power drunk and think that they can do whatever they please. If the company has to go, it has to go. If City Hall is left with “huge liabilities to SCS which has invested at least US$10 million in the project …” then the part played by Green, King and the rest of the gang must be investigated and where there is cause, borough before the courts.
    It’s time the president intervene. It is the work of his party’s people. No time for the ostrich’s act.

    • rs dasai

      Gt.
      Firstly, let SCS show proof of the $$$ investment. The Gvt is not a party to the contract so no liability, so do not blame the Gvt.

      • Emile_Mervin

        Central Government became part of the deal when Granger described it as burdensome and referred the deal for review to the Attorney General and Ministers of Finance and Communities. The Finance Ministry even released a statement pointing out the deal violated the procurement law because it was never tendered publicly. The Central Government also handpicked the Mayor, Town Clerk and APNU councilors Clarke and Garrett. It is a Central Government problem.

        • rs dasai

          Emile
          I agree.We fell flat on our faces when the AG and his advisers failed to safeguard The City on this. Thus the Citizens are again strapped with the cost. Change , but no change?

      • Anil Persaud

        well there is good news the matter has been taken to court. and the judge has suspended parking meters

      • Gtloyal

        Who is blaming the government? Read only what is written and try to understand what you read. Then go and read the contract.

    • Col123

      Hey GT… powa drunk is expensive… maybe it is some cheap moonshine. The President is a laissez-faire kind a guy based on his military background, always listening to some poor know nothing all his life …the mayor has two other shovels.. one a dem gon start digging faster…

      • Gtloyal

        Expensive licor can only be afforded in the mansions at Pradoville. You know why.
        Now do tell. Why can’t you avoid thinking about human excrement? Check your past comments. Did this trickle down from the upper tiers of the hierarchy?

        • Col123

          So you hang out with them boys there at Prodogville… and them poor chaps at city hall drink mauby…you obviously want to dabble in the stuff ,which your civil rights activist feddie called Guyana…go ask him . Talking about “higher tier ” is a reflection of your massa mindset… it’s about time you break away from that.

          • Gtloyal

            There you go again! And don’t blame Freddie. You just can’t avoid it it seems.
            Now, those at Prodoville are your people. I won’t be admitted there among you.
            And a “higher tier” is a reflection of what the same gang wanted to impose on Guyanese in the recent past.

          • Col123

            You should call out your guru Freddie… he is intermittently on the attack on your dieties.You are implying that your gang is low caste in your comments… just note!

          • Gtloyal

            I have no reason not to respect Freddie. If you want to tell him something or if you have something against him, be a man and tell him directly.
            And, don’t talk about caste please. Only one caste came to BG and I respect them as people.
            Your analytical capacity is so poor you must have passed under that military school ….

          • Col123

            The chap Freddie is a black civil rights activist and a scientist who taught alyou boys at UG…now you have no respect for him!..I am not surprised..

          • Gtloyal

            You have hinted that your pseudonym is a senior military rank and yet you can’t even read and understand basic English. That Col has got to mean something else. Anyway, I don’t want to know. Read my comment again and try to understand. Its plain English.

          • Col123

            My bad…you have “no reason not to “….. so do you have any…and you have a lot of those Indo friends….you must know a lot of black folks making it through the chain in the military, ducking under the school..

          • Gtloyal

            Look Mr Cane Cutter, to “have no reason not to” simply means that one “has every reason to”… in this case I have every reason to respect the gentleman. Looks like you’re still under the school.

          • Col123

            Two negatives.. English grammar… that’s why I am comfy with eubonics…

          • Gtloyal

            Knowing who the sentence was about, this reminds me of a line about the Friar in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. (“Ther nas no man no wher so vertuous.”)
            While double negatives may not be correct in standard English, that doesn’t make them any less useful in other dialects. My sentence was not of a negative concord, but one of two negatives yielding a positive. I wrongly supposed that it would not have been impossible for you to understand.

        • eddie

          Expensive licor can only be afforded in the mansions at Pradoville!!!!!!!! are you a closet participant so you know of the expensive licor

          Now do tell. Why can’t you avoid thinking about human excrement,Did this trickle down from the upper tiers of the hierarchy? I hope you are following the pattern here about my above cut and paste
          one word of thought to you “ramification” check it out before you write your next post

          • Gtloyal

            I am not a member of your party. That should clarify things for you.
            I was trying to get one blogger to write something with sense and here you are bringing up his topic again. Go tell him whatever you have in mind. We can see that all of you are birds of the same feather. You are even defending him the usual way … busing out. I won’t participate.
            I don’t think anyone is interested in what you have to say.

          • eddie

            my gosh you are such a brilliant soul , you just ascertain with my blog my party affiliation,,, you genius you ” now how come they did not hire you to audit them people that your government is accuse of stealing “,,,, now why you busing out I am just trying to help here just check the word ramification and then post LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL and I mean the whole word and not the first three letters HEHEHE

          • Gtloyal

            Of course I can guess your party affiliation and your “my gosh” confirms your inclinations. Rofl.
            Only one party has some who indulge in the abomination that you take pleasure in ventilating in your flippant remarks.
            I refuse to disrespect this forum so you can go pleasure yourself because I will ignore your stupid comments. Won’t even read them.

          • eddie

            you are not disrespecting the forum but in the next breath you want me to go pleasure my self just goes to show your level of intelligence TELL YOU WHAT give me one of your picture so when I pleasure myself I have a vision LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL come on show u dutty self

  • eddie

    the sad part is the alternative is a s..thole too, so until Guyanese can come together and stop the racial divide that was fed to us the past 50 years and hold each and everyone accountable these debacle will never stop ,,, let start with the deputy mayor he is one that is standing out to show accountability

  • Col123

    Are we supposed to believe that comment about the next 48 yrs..?..despite your right to state it …it so far fetched !….quite honestly, I don’t think the PNC has the brains to concoct such a deal….they can’t even balance the books to figure how much the PPP pilfered from the country on a monthly basis!