Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 March 2017, 17:04 by Denis Chabrol
Even as the Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM) on Wednesday vowed to continue pressing for the revocation of the parking meter contract between the Mayor and City Council and Smart City Solutions (SCS), the company said it has received no word from City Hall about the suspension of the contract.
“The MAPM will continue to reject this project in its entirety and will not accept any action less than a full revocation of the contract and bylaws,” the loosely-knit organisation said in a statement.
MAPM and SCS made know their positions one day after Guyana’s Cabinet agreed to ask City Hall to suspend the parking meter contract to allow for a full reconsideration of the deal in keeping with reviews that had been done by the Finance Ministry and the Attorney General’s Chambers.
SCS, for its part, suggested strongly that it would be responding to a request for suspension if it comes from City Hall rather than central government. Smart City Solutions confirms that it has received no instruction nor any official word in respect to taking any action to suspend the geoPark project from the Mayor and Councilors of the City of Georgetown, which is the counterparty to Smart City Solutions in respect of the Georgetown Metered Parking Project contract,” said the company which holds an 80 percent stake in the deal.
The Mayor and City Council is contractually entitled to 20 percent of gross earnings which last month amounted to just over GYD$250,000. Authorities said the poor performance is largely due to the boycott.
The company said it “will continue to operate and enforce the geoPark project in accordance with its obligations under the Georgetown Metered Parking Project contract.”
While MAPM welcomed Cabinet’s recommendation for the suspension of the contract, that organisation said it would not be giving up in its push to have the contract and parking meter bylaws “in their current forms” revoked,
MAPM, which includes a wide cross-section of persons across the racial and political divide, reiterated that it is not against a system to generate revenue from parking. “MAPM would like to reiterate to its position that we are not against a structured system for traffic regulation within the city including measures to facilitate the orderly parking of vehicles and the need for the M&CC to increase their revenue base.”
The organisation restated several deficiencies in how the current contract and bylaws were born. “The fact remains that this project is an imposition on the Guyanese people and did not benefit from a feasibility and social impact study and has breached Guyana’s procurement regulations. In addition, the bylaws which the Government signed into law is oppressive and infringes on the constitutional rights of every Guyanese and seeks to usurp the work of the Guyana Police Force,” said MAPM whose hierarchy includes several practicing lawyers.
MAPM has held five weekly protests outside City Hall so far, drawing support from City businesses some of which have closed their doors in solidarity.
The Alliance For Change (AFC), which is a part of the governing coalition, has long objected to the project in the Council and at Central Government. Prior to Cabinet’s decision on Tuesday, the AFC early last month had called for the suspension of the contract.