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Parking meter project to be suspended for three months; faces revocation if problems aren’t fixed

The controversial parking meter project is to be suspended for three months to fix a number of the problems identified in the contract between Georgetown’s Mayor and City Council (M&CC) and Smart City Solutions (SCS), a senior government official confirmed late Tuesday night.

The official, who spoke with Demerara Waves Online News on strict condition of anonymity, said Cabinet has also agreed that if at the end of the three months City Hall and the investor do not iron out a number of the problems identified in the review by the Finance Ministry, “it (the contract) could very well be scrapped altogether.”

Cabinet has tasked Local Government Minister, Ronald Bulkan with asking City Hall to put a brake on the parking meter system until a review and consultations.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon is Thursday expected to announce the details of the suspension. SCS has earmarked US$10 million for the parking meter project and has agreed to give City Hall 20 percent of gross earnings. Latest figures show that due to the boycott of the parking meters, City Hall’s stake was equal to just over GYD$250,000 last month.

Demerara Waves Online News was told that cabinet members drawn from both the Alliance For Change (AFC) and A A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) felt very strongly about the adverse political impact the parking meter project was having on the governing coalition

The decision by Cabinet on Tuesday to suspend the parking meter project came as weekly protest action by the Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM) continued into its 5th week, with signs of intensification.

The AFC on February 7, 2017 had called for the parking meter project to be suspended and reconsider pertinent aspects of the Finance Ministry’s review.

The AFC has said the the available documentation, suggests that the municipality may have overreached its authority on a number of matters including taxation arrangements, traffic arrangements and road ownership.  Concerns have also been raised about the monopolistic and exclusive enjoyment by SCS. The accord virtually guarantees SCS another 20 years after the current contract expires providing the company adequately performs its obligations and subject to the approval of the city “such approval not to be unreasonably withheld.”

The contract provides for SCS to initially install 2,500 meters and phase in more based on demand and public reactions. The agreement also allows SCS to secure lands to establish garage parking facilities and to eventually purchase those lands.

Transparency Institute of Guyana, Private Sector Commission and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce have also called for the contract to be scrapped, citing no public tender, lack of transparency among  all City Councillors about the contract, the adverse impact of the parking meters on businesses in the City and the exorbitant cost of metered parking.

City Hall has maintained that it badly needs the cash to help fund rehabilitation and maintenance of the drainage system and road network.

  • rudeo

    king kong and the lady in green must be pulled over the coals….”cabinet members drawn from both the Alliance For Change (AFC) and A A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) felt very strongly about the adverse political impact the parking meter project was having on the governing coalition”…wow!…..a lot more of that in a lot more of cases…..corruption and cronyism…a la PPP style….are the hallmarks of this coalition

    • Col123

      R: That “king kong” reference is ugly..but with a lady in the sentence…. who can tell?….. feddie may have an input since he is either looking at or making movies… it seems ..

  • Emile_Mervin

    Suspend, upend, and end but don’t amend, because the meter man is motivated your friend.

  • Col123

    Where do I get my refund of monies paid into the meter?..

  • Lancelot Brassington

    i am predicting that Bulkhan will encounter opposition from the dominant female who seems to be a law unto herself. He may have to lay down the law very bluntly.
    The moral of this story is that local government entities cannot be given latitude to do as they like with impunity. All relevant national institutions and bodies must be engaged and must give their approval before business ventures of this type can be ventured into. The ‘state within a state’ concept went out with Jonestown. All of this embarrassment would have been avoided if the government had exerted its influence, albeit through informal channels. at an early stage instead of living by the book.