-MAPM protests in show of Govt support
In light of the Ministry of Infrastructure announcing that they had never entered into an agreement with the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) or Smart City Solutions Inc. (SCSI) to erect parking meters along several streets in Georgetown, members of the Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM) today took to Water Street with their vehicles to challenge the parking meter contractors.
Today, a release was sent out by the Ministry of Infrastructure indicating that “in accordance with the Roads Act, Chapter 51:01 of the Laws of Guyana,” several streets in Georgetown which have parking meters, fall strictly under the purview of the Ministry and that no permission was granted to SCSI nor the M&CC to erect the meters there.
“The Ministry wishes to clarify that it has not entered into any agreement neither has it given permission to the Mayor and City Council of Georgetown nor Smart City Solutions to erect parking meters along the aforementioned public roads. The public should therefore be guided accordingly,” the release said.
These streets were identified as Clive Lloyd Drive, Rupert Craig Highway, University of Guyana Access road, Water Street, Battery Road, Seawall Road, Young Street, Barrack Street, Camp Road, Fort Street, Vlissengen Road, Irving Street, Station Street, Duncan Street, Thomas Road, Sheriff Street/Kitty Avenue, Ruimveldt Avenue, Houston Bypass and Eastern Highway.
However, the M&CC also released a statement contradicting that of the Ministry’s. They asserted that they have “granted permission to its partners Smart City Solutions to install Parking Meters as per contract and agreement on Council roads only. As far as the Council is aware, no Parking Meter has been installed on roads outside of the control and curtilage of the Mayor and City Council.”
In the M&CC statement, they indicated that they have rights over the Railway Embankment Road, Clive Lloyd Drive, Rupert Craig Highway, University of Guyana Access road, Water Street, Battery Road, Seawall Road, Young Street, Barrack Street, Camp Road, Fort Street, Vlissengen Road, Irving Street, Station Street, Duncan Street, Thomas Road, Sheriff Street/Kitty Avenue, Ruimveldt Avenue, Houston Bypass and Eastern Highway.
This, they say is in compliance with the Municipal and District Council’s Act, Chapter 28:01.
However, M&CC posited that if a mistake has been made on the part of the Council due to any oversight, then they are willing to have them corrected.
Following both of these releases, protesters took to Water Street in front of the Muneshwar’s building to park their vehicles without paying the meters with the intention of challenging the parking meter contractors, SCSI.
At least 25 persons stood along the road side, after having parked their cars, and held up black flags while making calls for the parking meters to go.
Business persons, their employees and even the acting Mayor of Georgetown, Sherod Duncan were a part of the initiative. They all indicated that they were there to support the Government’s call for the parking meter project to be suspended.
Duncan emphasized on his support of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure who asserted that the parking meters were not legal along almost all of the streets in Georgetown since no permission to put them there was granted.
Another familiar face to the business community, WR Reaz indicated that the protest against parking meters will be prolonged for as long as it takes to have the meters removed and contract scrapped.
He asserted that since the implementation of the ‘dreaded meters’, businesses have seen a significant decline in sale, as such, the business community is dying.
Meanwhile, Smart City employees who would usually clamp the vehicles after their owners fail to pay for parking were seen just before the protest commenced.
However, they subsequently left without interfering or clamping anyone’s motor vehicle. (Ramona Luthi)