GRANGER: Parking fees “burdensome; weighs in on transparency at City Hall

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 June 2016, 19:41 by Denis Chabrol

President David Granger on Thursday expressed disappointment at the apparent lack of consultation about the Georgetown Municipal parking meter project and described  the metered parking rate of GYD$80,000 per month for as  “burdensome” ‎. 
‎’It is a burdensome amount for any person, rich or poor. That is why the Minister of Communities has been asked to examine the contract and the conditions under which the agreement has been made ,” he said on his weekly interview programme, Public Interest.  Cabinet this week decided to send the contract to the Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan and Attorney General, Basil Williams for review to determine whether there were any illegalities. 
City Mayor, Patricia Chase-Green has already said that the rate of GYD$500 per month being bandied around was not factual and that the planned fee would certainly be lower than that. ‎
‎The Guyanese leader stopped short of siding with Deputy Mayor, Sherod Duncan and a number of other councillors who claimed that they have been left in the dark about the contract. Duncan has specifically maintained that Smart City Solutions/ National Parking Systems appeared to have no track record or experience in providing parking meter services in any other country. 
While noting that the City Council is a legal body, the President said his administration would press for more openness in the municipality’s operations. ‎”I’m disappointed that there are members of the Council feel that they have not been consulted. The whole purpose of having Local Government Elections is to have democratically run councils so as far as the government is concerned we will insist that there is greater transparency and we cannot overrule the council,” he said. ‎
The City Mayor, who headed a three-member delegation of councillors to Mexico City, on her return announced that the project would begin rolling out on selected streets in Georgetown.
Defending the wisdom of the deal, she said the cash-strapped municipality would be earning 20 percent of the revenue and would not be investing any of the US$10 million to bring the parking meter system to Guyana. She has also said that at least 100 jobs would be created and that the company, not the municipality, would be manning the high-tech system.
The Deputy Mayor has said that he supports the introduction of parking meters, but abhors the absence of transparency because the wider council has never been properly consulted.
Accompanying Mayor Chase-Green on the Mexico trip were Town Clerk, Royston King, Chairman of the City’s Finance Committee, Oscar Clarke and Finance Committee member, Junior Garrett. ‎