– says respondents would be in breach if project continues
In spite of an ‘order nisi certiorari’ being issued by Chief Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards against them, Mayor Patricia Chase-Green and Town Clerk Royston King have committed to ensuring that paid parking is re-implemented in Georgetown from today. This announcement has raised eyebrows among legal experts and stakeholders alike, and according to former Attorney General Anil Nandlall, that ‘order nisi certiorari’ has placed a hold on paid parking until the High Court hearing, scheduled for February 27, before Justice Brassington Reynolds.
In an interview on Sunday, the Attorney noted that if the city were to continue implementing the project or force anyone to pay for parking before the hearing, this would be tantamount to violating a court order.
“A writ of certiorari is one of the prerogative remedies which is granted to quash decisions made by public officers, public authorities or statutory tribunals. The order is granted, firstly by an order nisi being issued calling upon the other side to show cause why a particular decision should not be quashed.”
“When that order nisi is issued, it puts that particular decision, which it imputes, upon hold until the (respondents) show or does not show cause. If the other side succeeds in showing cause why the order should not be made absolute, then the order nisi is discharged.”
He noted that if the respondents do fail to show cause, then the order nisi is upheld and made absolute, thus quashing the decision.
“What that means, therefore, is that until the case is concluded, the decision (in this case) the parking meter contract and its implementation has been put on hold by the order nisi.”
Nandlall observed that if vehicular clamping were to resume today, then they would be violating a court order. Flouting a High Court order, Nandlall observed, was a serious matter.
“And therefore, the Chief Justice should be requested to summon (respondents) before her to answer for violating the court order. Because a court order (would) be violated and that is not a matter that should be treated lightly.”
The High Court order was granted on Thursday last after an application for judicial review was made by Attorney Kamal Ramkarran, on behalf of Mohendra Arjune. Georgetown Mayor Patricia Chase Green, Town Clerk Royston King and unspecified City Councillors were named as the respondents.
The writ had stated that, “an order nisi of certiorari be and is hereby granted to quash the decision of the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown to enter into an agreement on or around 13 May, 2016”.
In addition, the order prohibited the respondents from making “any amendments thereto for the establishment of parking meters in Georgetown with (Smart City Solutions – SCSI) and all acts and things thereafter which flowed from that decision”.
The order also curtails the power of the Town Clerk. According to the High Court order, “this court orders that an order nisi of certiorari be and is hereby granted to quash the decision of the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown and the Town Clerk empowering and authorising the Town Clerk to sign and operationalise contracts with (SCSI) for the establishment of parking meters in Georgetown and all acts and things done or caused to be done thereafter flowing from that decision”.
It also revoked “the decision of the Mayor and Councillors and anyone acting by or through them or under their directions or instructions or on their behalf to exempt persons or categories of persons from paying fees for parking in the City of Georgetown and being subject to penalties for parking in Georgetown”.
The respondents also have to show cause against all the orders made by the Chief Justice to quash their decision to enter into the contract, which has already caused weekly mass protests in front of City Hall.
Their day in court is set for February 27, 2017, before Justice Brassington Reynolds. Should they fail to comply, the document noted, they will be held in contempt of court.
Since the implementation of the order, however, the Mayor and Town Clerk have remained unfazed.
During a pre-recorded press conference at National Communications Network (NCN) on Saturday, Mayor Chase Green was quoted as saying that “as of Monday next, we will resume the implementation of the parking meter project.”
The statements have been heavily criticised, with lawyers from the lobby group Movement Against Parking Meters expressing consternation during a town hall meeting on Saturday.
The issue is a hot topic among citizens, in particular on social media platforms. Already, there have been weekly mass protests outside of City Hall.
There is another court order concerning the parking meters in the High Court, scheduled to be deliberated on by Justice Reynolds today . This one, which was brought by New Building Society (NBS), features the Town Clerk and Communities Minister, Ronald Bulkan as respondents.
In that writ, the respondents have to “show cause why a writ of certiorari should not be issued to quash his approval/decision to approve the Parking Meter By-Laws made under the Municipal and District Councils Act, Chapter 28:01 made on or about the 23rd day of January, 2017, in that the said approval or decision to approve was of no legal effect and was made unlawfully and in breach of statute.” (Guyana Times)