AG blames APNU+AFC as Mexican firm files US$100M claim against Guyana over failed parking meter project

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A parking meter in Georgetown

Smart City Solutions has filed a US$100M claim against the Guyana Government over the controversial parking meter project that was introduced under the APNU/AFC government but had to be stalled after massive rejection and outcry by citizens of Georgetown.

Back in the May 2016, the Georgetown Mayor and City Council signed a contract with the Mexican company for a paid parking system to be rolled out in Georgetown.

The meters were active in January 2017 but this was met with strong resistance from the then PPP/C Opposition, Private Sector bodies and ordinary citizens, who have held some of the largest non-political protests in the city.

Amid public pressure, the then APNU/AFC Government intervened a few months later and halted the parking meter project, which has since remained stalled.

But now, almost five years later, Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall disclosed that the company has since approached an international arbitration institution claiming US$100M against the Guyana government. That institution is the Washington-based ICSID which was established to address legal dispute resolution and conciliation between international investors and States.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall

According to AG Nandlall, this latest proceeding against the State is representative of a series of destructive acts left behind by the APNU/AFC Coalition that the PPP/C government has to now clean up.

“This is kind of destruction that these people have done… and then you saw their behaviour again in the National Assembly just (two weeks) ago… I don’t know what is wrong with this bunch,” Nandlall expressed during his weekly programme ‘Issues in the News’.

“And these people are still clamouring for power…we have to be reminded of the destruction. These are invaluable taxpayers’ dollars that we will have to spend in defending a claim…and APNU and AFC and PNC, living their merry lives and left this burden with us to carry….”

Despite widespread objections to the parking meter project, a Parking Meter Renegotiation Committee at City Hall had proposed in January 2018 a reduction in the parking fee from $500 per hour to $150 per hour but this was never approved by the government.