The highly controversial contract between the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) and the parking meter company, Smart City Solutions (SCS), can only be terminated through arbitration.
According to the contract, if in any event a dispute arises over the terms of the agreement and there is need for it to be terminated, it must be done through arbitration by the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) in Miami, Florida.
The contract states under the “Dispute Resolution” clause that “the Parties expressly declare that any disputes arising in connection with the interpretation, performance, breach and termination of this Agreement shall be settled through arbitration.”
It specified that the arbitration must be administered through the ICDR in accordance with the applicable rules of the Arbitration Committee of the International Business Council.
There has been much resistance against the Parking Meter Project since the idea was flouted by the City Council.
Since its implementation, that resistance has grown into a mass movement calling for the initiative to be shelved and the contract which was signed in total secrecy to be scrapped.
But it appears that the parking meter company has taken all precautionary steps to ensure it is protected in any turn of events regarding the initiative.
The contract stipulates that City Hall must be liable for any expenses incurred by the company as a result of a third party action.
Among the shocking clauses in the contract are: the fact that the company can extend the duration of the 49-year agreement for an additional 49 years under the same terms of the current agreement, subject to the approval of City Hall; the company was given the option to operate in Guyana for almost one century; the contract’s ‘terror clause’ protects Smart City Solutions, as it includes a clause intended to scare the Mayor and City Council over the prospect of terminating the agreement.
Should the company be ordered by any court to take any form of action, which will incur expenses, then these will become the burden on the City Council.
The reimbursement for any loss suffered as a result of third party action is titled “Indemnification.”
The section reads, “The city shall indemnify the Concessionaire against all liabilities, costs, expenses, damages and losses including, but not limited to any direct, indirect or consequential losses, loss of profit, loss of reputation and all interest, penalties and legal costs and all other professional costs and expenses suffered or incurred by the Concessionaire.”
The contract also provides for the Company to be reimbursed if any claim, action, motion, petition, summons, writ or other proceeding whatsoever made against the Town Clerk, the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown which results in the delay in the performance or frustration of this agreement.
Additionally, if such payment due from the City is subject to tax (whether by way of direct assessment or withholding at its source), the company shall be entitled to receive from the city such amounts to ensure that the net amount received, after tax, is the same as it would have been were the payment not subject to tax.
There has been widespread public outcry against the Parking Meter Project over the past months with a movement staging protest action against the “draconian” costs and penalties of the project.
Already, the New Building Society (NBS) is challenging the legality of the parking meter By-laws in the courts.
The case comes up before Justice Brassington Reynolds on February 20. (Guyana Times)