-President orders fees be reduced
-MAPM says deal needs to be scrapped, mulling legal action
The Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM) has called for persons to come out and support the movement, as they prepare to protest the parking meter initiative again today, in front of City Hall at 12:00hrs.
The MAPM staged a peaceful protest last Firday that drew a large crowd of protesters raising placards against the installed parking meters within Georgetown which has, from its inception to execution, proven to be ‘burdensome’ for the populace.
A position which is shared by the political Opposition and is even shared by governing figures within Central Government.
This impending protest comes in the wake of President David Granger announcing last evening that he ordered the parking meter fees be lowered after consulting with City Hall officials.
Inews understands Communities Minister, Ronald Bulkan is expected to meet with the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) and Smart City Solutions (SCS) to iron out the details for the lowering of the rates.
Strongly expressing that the group is not politically affiliated, representatives of the MAPM during a presser on Wednesday registered its disdain over what was described as a “scandalous and illegal” arrangement between City Hall and the implementing company, Smart City Solutions (SCS).
MAPM member and businessman, Komal Ramlauth, made calls for accountability, while highlighting that business throughout Georgetown, has come to a drastic reduction since the implementation of the “scandalous and illegal” parking meters.
“What we support, is a parking system. Metering is just a part of the parking system, and what we have is a parking meter arrangement that was illegally done, as I call it. So we cannot support and negotiate with somebody that just illegally put it there, or a contract that is illegal. In Guyana, all the talk for the last few years in transparency, transparency, transparency, accountability, accountability. Let us have that. Let us see that. That is what we want,” Ramlauth stated.
MAPM feels that lowering the rates would not be enough and have called for the project to be scrapped, since from its inception the contract for parking meters was awarded to SCS unilaterally, without there being competitive bidding, consultations or a social impact assessment done to determine how the populace would be affected, among other issues.
Another MAPM member and Attorney-at-Law, Nadia Sagar stated that the group is looking into the possibility of taking legal action.
“Legal action is going to be taken. These things don’t happen overnight. There are several entities that are pursuing action through different Attorneys and in time, those matters will be raised,” she said.
The MAPM stated that they welcome all calls against the parking meter initiative, referencing the coalition’s second largest entity, the Alliance For Change’s (AFC) request for the project to be suspended.
“Any group, political or not, that is in support of what we are in support of, we welcome that support,” businessman Christopher Chapwaya of MAPM said.
The Alliance For Change (AFC) arm of the coalition Government called for the suspension of the project. Despite refusing to support the parliamentary Opposition when it brought a motion to debate the contentious Parking Meter Project in the National Assembly, the AFC came out expressing concerns over the Georgetown Municipality overreaching its authority on a number of matters, including taxation arrangements, traffic arrangements and road ownership.
The AFC also expressed concerns that the current arrangements do not appear to be in the best interest of the people of the city and that the handling of the project from its inception to its current stage lacks sufficient prior public consultation; is absent of transparency and of a competitive bidding process; and lacks of proper planning with regard to exemptions and the pricing and penalty structures.