by Ramona Luthi
Despite public and private apprehension against the implementation of parking meters throughout the streets of Georgetown, the City’s Town Clerk, Royston King has announced that by January 9 2017, all parking meters will be installed and running.
This was said earlier today, during the parking meter launch, when the Managing Director of Smart City Solutions, Amir Oren and his Public Relations Officer (PRO) Kit Nascimento, in the company of King and other City Hall representatives met with members of the public and the media.
Oren in a earlier press conference had disclosed that the first phase of parking meters would be completely installed around the city by the end of December, the meters are being installed on a few streets in Georgetown, namely Avenue of the Republic, and Regent Street, among others.
Town Clerk, King expressed elation towards the implementation of the parking meters, which he described as a “bold initiative.”
“This project has utility in three areas. First of all, the environment and sustainability, the other area is infrastructural development, and the third area is city economics,” King said.
He went on to announce that the funds garnered from the initiative will be re-invested to upgrade road, and similar facilities, including the development of cycling lanes and also to introduce, install and operate the “City transit system, particularly for senior citizens and children.”
King stated that for now, though some parking meters are installed, no one will pay for parking until next year, highlighting that he hoped persons will become acquainted with the electronic device.
Managing Director of Smart City Solutions, Oren asserted that the introductory period for the parking meters will be launched as of January 9, 2017, and members of the public will be taught how to use the machines.
“The system is very easy to use. As I’ve said many times before, Georgetown is not the first nor the last to introduce a system like this which is very important, not only to parking but mobility,” he posited.
He expressed confidence that those who are against the parking meters presently will be much more receptive of it once they become acquainted.
The parking meters will be charging a fee of $50 plus Value Added Tax per every fifteen minutes of parking along the streets of Georgetown.The lowest would be 15 minutes ($50), while the highest would be six hours ($1200). This will also be mandatory to public transportation, until preparations are made for alternative parking spaces.
It was also disclosed prior to this meeting, that if persons go over the allotted time that they purchase, then meter wardens, using a device, would clamp the vehicle wheel making it immobile. Persons would then have to pay a hefty $8000 fine to clear their vehicle. Failure to pay that fine would result in the vehicle being impounded.
Recently, Oren had said that the implementation would be divided into two phases, adding that the first phase of the parking meter project will occupy 3237 parking spaces in Georgetown, utilizing 157 parking meters.
The Machines will be stationed close to all the commercial hubs in Georgetown. The meters will be situated along Quamina Street, Water Street, Hadfield Street, Camp Street, Church Street, North Road, Robb Street, Regent Street, Charlotte Street, South Road, Croal Street, Brickdam, Avenue of the Republic, Wellington Street and King Street,
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.
The controversial parking meter contract, after being exposed in the media as being shrouded in secrecy and smelling of corruption, was reviewed by the Central Government for any illegalities.
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.
At that time, the project was being spearheaded by Ifa Kamau Cush, who was named the Director of Smart City Solutions. However, the company’s Public Relations Officer, Kit Nascimento had stated that Cush was only a shareholder of the company and was no longer operational.
The company’s PRO had also stated that the parking meters would be operational from 07:00hrs to 19:00hrs Mondays to Saturdays. However, he noted that parking is free any time before 07:00hrs and 20:00hrs, and on Sundays and holidays.