Below in an opinion piece by veteran politician and former government Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy on the controversial parking meter contract:
The Parking Meter contract has stirred outrage and resistance from the people. The Mayor and City Council (M&CC) rightfully and deservedly has been pilloried for corruption. But APNU+AFC is even more guilty of one of the most corrupt deals ever in our history. Given how indefensible, repulsive and oppressive this “contract from hell” is, people have been both puzzled and troubled at the extreme extent APNU+AFC has gone in permitting this travesty.
People have been understandably suspicious, but their suspicions of corruption might be worse than imagined given the information that is presently circulating. Information has reached the public that the real distribution of revenues is not what is stated in the contract, but as follows: 50% for the parking meter company, 20% M&CC, 20% PNC and 10% for individuals. Now as the call intensifies for the complete rescinding of the contract and for people to be held accountable, questions are being asked relating to how Cush, a former felon in the USA, established a company called National Parking Systems, how this company was able to displace a previous company that was engaged by the M&CC and who linked Cush and the M&CC. Questions abound since people are aware that Cush has friends in the PNC.
From the beginning, suspicions were rife since APNU+AFC actively facilitated the M&CC to implement the parking meter contract in spite of being totally privy to the reprehensible “terror” clauses. These suspicions intensified as people saw APNU+AFC tenaciously persisting with its complicity even though they knew that by any standard “the contract from hell” was indefensible and even though they saw unprecedented public resistance. Even now that the M&CC is in contempt of the court which has ordered the M&CC to stand down and placed the parking meter system on abeyance, APNU+AFC is doing nothing to stop the M&CC and stop the “contract from hell”. For most Guyanese, APNU+AFC’s complicity in this mess is bizarre, unless there is something terrible they need to hide.
APNU+AFC’s vile efforts with sporadic individual statements and feigned consternation meant to obfuscate the issue cannot extricate them from total complicity in the “contract from hell” because each of them that might have reluctantly issued a condemnatory statement is also part of the APNU+AFC Cabinet that has made the implementation of the “contract from hell” possible.
Note the latest example – Nagamootoo stating that the contract by-laws “are oppressive but made legal”. This is the champion bloviator kerfuffling the issue. Who made the oppressive by-laws legal? It is APNU+AFC’s Cabinet which he is a senior member of. Is he accusing Bulkan of approving the by-laws by himself? But it is the Office of the Presidency that publishes the Official Gazette. Why did they publish the by-laws if this is Bulkan’s rogue masterpiece? If Bulkan went rogue, why is Nagamootoo not calling for Bulkan to resign?
Frankly, APNU+AFC’s scorecard on the “contract from hell” spells GUILTY on all counts. Granger and APNU+AFC knew of the contract from the beginning. Harmon last year announced a Cabinet review of the contract and their own Ministry of Finance and the Attorney General Office did reviews in July/August 2016 which concluded that the parking meter contract signed by representatives of APNU+AFC on the M&CC was a “contract from hell” with several “terror” clauses.
Yet APNU+AFC, through their Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan, reviewed and approved the parking meter by-laws in January and gazetted it on February 3. Without the parking meter by-laws the contract could not be implemented. This scorecard is a recipe that smells corruption.
From the start public outrage was driven by the suspicion that this was a deal to enrich individuals and certain organizations. There has always been the nauseating suspicion that the national space in Georgetown is being used as a cash cow, not to fund development in Georgetown, but filling people’s pockets.
Now comes information that, in fact, the “terror” contract clause that provides 80% to the parking meter company (Smart City Solutions/National Parking Systems) and 20% to the M&CC is just a paper provision and that the real distribution of the earnings from the “green monsters” is really 50% to SCS/NPS, 20% to the M&CC, 20% to the People’s National Congress (PNC) and 10% to individuals.
This information explains why APNU+AFC is so absolutely complicit in the execution of one of the worst examples of corruption in Guyana’s history. By now the vast majority of Guyanese know of and comprehensively reject the “contract from hell”.
The parking meters themselves are now enshrined in our history as the “horrible green monsters”. Those of us who have been vocal in our opposition, resistance and boycott of the “horrible green monsters” and the “contract from hell” are convinced that a crime has been perpetuated on the Guyanese people.
While we are convinced that the BIG FOUR – Mayor Chase Green, Councilors Oscar Clarke and Junior Garret and City Clerk Royston King – are guilty of corruption, we are at the same time not fooled.
APNU+AFC is complicit, is an active partner in and bears total responsibility for this reprehensible, scandalous, corrupt deal.
Dr Leslie Ramsammy