$8000 fine for failing to pay ticket on time
As preparations begin for the installation of parking meters in the central part of Georgetown, Smart City Solutions’ Director, Amir Oren told media operatives that the implementation will be divided into two phases. The expectation is that the first phase be completed by Christmas (December 25) 2016.
According to Oren at a meeting held earlier today, at the Marriott Hotel, the first phase of the parking meter project will occupy 3237 spaces in Georgetown, utilizing 157 parking meters.
He also stated that these machines, intended to regulate traffic, will be situated on Quamina Street, Water Street, Hadfield Street, Camp Street, Church Street, North Road, Robb Street, Regent Street, Charlotte Street, South Road, Croal Street, Brickdam Road, Avenue of Republic, Wellington Street and King Street respectively.
The Director of Smart City Solutions further related that the second phase of the project will be completed three months after this and it will cover 4000 spaces, while utilizing 163 parking meters.
However, the locations for the parking meters, in the second phase, were not disclosed.
Fees and usage
At the meeting it was disclosed that persons utilizing the parking meters would have to pay $50 for 15 minutes of parking. It was also disclosed that cards would be sold at outlets bearing the different time denominations. The lowest would be 15 minutes ($50), while the highest would be six hours ($1200). These prices however, are not Value Added Tax (VAT) inclusive and might therefore increase.
When Inews inquired about this, the company’s Public Relations Officer, Kit Naciemento said that they are in the process of applying for tax exemptions for the citizens of Georgetown so that they would not be required to pay VAT on their purchase of parking time.
The card when purchased would then be swiped at the desired parking meter and a receipt would be generated which would then have to be placed on the dashboard of the vehicle so that persons employed as parking meter wardens can view the information.
It was also disclosed that if persons go over there allotted time that they purchased, then the wardens, using a device, would clamp the vehicle wheel and tire making it immobile. Persons would then have to pay a staggering $8000 fine to clear their vehicle. Failure to pay that fine would result in the vehicle being impounded.
According to Naciemento, the parking meters would be operational from 7am to 7pm on Mondays to Saturdays. Anytime before 07:00hrs in the morning and after 07:00hrs in the evening would be free he declared, while nothing that parking would also be free on Sundays.
The parking meter project was introduced by the Mayor and Town Clerk in June of this year, and from its inception it was faced with rejection, primarily in the monopolistic way the contract was foisted unto the populace, with no tender being awarded and no consultations held.
At the time, the project was being spearheaded by Ifa Kamau Cush, who was named the Director of Smart City Solutions. However, just a few weeks ago, Naciemento stated that Cush was only a shareholder of the company and he was no longer operational.
Concerns were also raised over the criteria used for the selection of the streets which will be equipped with parking meters, since it registers as a discriminatory move as some patrons may be mandated to pay for parking while others may not.
The controversial parking meter contract, after being exposed in the media as being shrouded in secrecy and smelling of corruption, was reviewed by the executive for any illegalities.
Among the concerns raised about the contract were the division of profits, the exorbitant amount being charged for parking, the development, as well as the terms of the agreement, and the credibility of the company undertaking the initiative.
The parliamentary Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) had strongly criticised the imposition of this extra financial expense on the public, especially in light of the fact that there were absolutely no consultations on the matter beforehand.
Despite the flaws highlighted in the contract, Government discovered nothing illegal and gave the green light for the commencement of the project once certain recommendations were implemented. This included a reduced fee for parking, which was eventually changed in the contract. (Ramona Luthi)