By Ramona Luthi
Scores of protestors including Parliamentarians turned up for a peaceful demonstration against the parking meters outside City Hall earlier today.
However, the passive protest quickly became a chaotic scene when a small noisy group of pro-parking meters supporters arrived at the same time. Some of these supporters began to throw slangs, verbally attacking the anti-parking meter protesters, while accusing them of being People’s Progressive Party activists.
The antagonism grew between those against and those for the parking meter, to the point where death threats were exchanged between two persons on opposing sides. Police were summoned and one was arrested while the other was not.
Additionally, some members of the business sector, Parliamentarians, Councillors, and even the Deputy Mayor, Sherod Duncan were among those who protested against the parking meters.
“I feel the citizenry of Guyana would have made their voices lucidly clear on this issue called the parking meters. There was no consultation to begin with, with civil society. This has been an imposition, on the citizenry of Guyana. Now the by-laws leave much to be desired, the penalities are punitive, people are being punished in so many different ways. They’ve not only been taxed all year round, things have not only increased, now they’re being punished to park,” Member of Parliament, Dr Vindyha Persaud said.
Duncan who has been against the parking meter initiative from the inception said “listen to the people; this is the people across the political divide representing here. People from all political parties, no political party, all races, all creeds, representing out here, and we say to our Government, let us look back at this contract, pause it and let’s re-look at it again.”
Moreover, a young man who spoke to Inews relayed that even he thought this initiative was too extravagant for a developing country like Guyana. “As a youngster coming up, I want to see the country progress indeed but the parking meter will not help. I mean you gotta cater for all classes of people, and especially the low class, they can’t afford it man.”
Business persons who spoke to this online publication also decried the parking meter implementation highlighting that since persons have now been compelled to pay for parking, they have seen a significant decline in sales.
Meanwhile, only a few of the more aggressive pro-parking meter supporters were willing to express their feelings.
“Tax is something you must pay, tax is develop a country. Fuh develop yuh country, you must pay tax but you know what happen to some people? They accustomed to the lawlessness for years so this come like a surprise to them because they didn’t know this day wudda come…I accustom to protesting but them over deh aint accustom wuh come out of the AC office. They want the lawlessness to continue but end has to come,” one loud pro parking meter supporter posited.
Another young supporter of the parking meter called on Guyanese to think. “We need to stop this ignorance and think; this is a good move for the Government and is good for us!”
Additionally, even after noticing the significant turn out of persons against the parking meters, the Mayor of Georgetown, Patricia Chase-Green and Town Clerk, Royston King were unmoved and indicated that no reduction in parking meter fees will be done.
“For you to be against parking meter in a modernized world in a global society, it is backward thinking and I can only assume that those people who are thinking that they’re against the parking meter really wants Georgetown to stay in a state of confusion, indiscipline and lawlessness,” King said.
Mayor of Georgetown was also adamant that she would “not let negativity to take possession” of her.
The Anti-Parking Meter protesters concluded their protest with the singing of the National Anthem and vowed to continue their protest in a civil manner.
See more Carl Croker photos of the protest below: