Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 December 2016, 12:01 by Denis Chabrol
Despite lingering opposition to the introduction of parking meters in Georgetown, the company – Smart City Solutions (SMS)- on Wednesday said it was prepared for vandals because the high-tech meters will trigger alarms remotely on impact.
Amir Oren Managing Director of Business Development (Global Operations) sought to dispel concerns about vandalism because none of the meters would contain cash. “It has alarms built-in so as soon as there any sort of impact to the meter, it would set off alarms and those patrols would be directed directly to that,” he told reporters at a ribbon-cutting exercise to formally mark the introduction of metered parking in Georgetown.
Town Clerk, Royston King said city police, Guyana Police Force and wardens, with supernumerary powers, would be on patrol to ensure that motorists pay up and the meters are secured.
Motorists will not be required to pay for parking until January 9, 2017 by which time, according to Town Clerk Royston King, there would be new by-laws that would govern paid parking in Guyana’s capital. “I am now allowed to tell you about it until it is published,” he said, adding that they would be published in the Official Gazette and newspapers.
SMS officials declined to say when their company would begin earning a profit on their US$10 million investment. The Town Clerk restated that the City’s coffers would get 20 percent of the gross earnings and 80 percent to SMS.
Phase one would see the installation of 157 parking meters to regulate about 3,200 parking spots, and then phase two in March, 2016 would bring the total to 320 meters for 7,200 spots.
Oren hopes that eventually more persons would recognise the benefits of Georgetown having parking meters. “You’ll see that by that time people will be wanting the second phase to come because they will be seeing all the improvements that will occur after putting in the first phase,” he said.
The Private Sector Commission and the opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) have also objected to the introduction of the parking meters, partly because of economic burdens on ordinary Guyanese and the lack of transparency and accountability.
There is also division among Georgetown City Councillors with the PPPC and AFC representatives opposing the parking meter system because the process has been opaque. The A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) councillors, however, support the new revenue generation mechanism.
The first phase would see parking meters being installed in an area bounded by Quamina Street to the north, Camp Street to the east, Brickdam and part of Hadfield Street to the south and Water Street to the west. Phase two will see the northern boundary being extended to Lamaha Street, the eastern boundary to Albert Street and more of Hadfield Street to the south.