LETTER: Parking meters a burden and hated by overwhelming majority of citizens

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The Editor.

Dear Sir,

Though there has been a plethora of comment on the Parking Meter Scheme, many of our members have insisted that we make a public comment on the issue:

(1) Iniquitous profit-sharing.

The profit-sharing between M&CC and Smart City is iniquitous by any standards.  Smart City’s main input to the Scheme are a number of used parking meters and a few ancillary things which they have costed at US$10.millions but which many knowledgeable persons including Deputy Mayor Duncan have said is a bloated  figure.  The Guyana side would be providing the Georgetown road system worth billions of dollars and the main enforcers in the person of 50 City constables or one-third of the force.  The Guyana side would be inputting 99% of the assets while Smart City would be supplying 1% but receiving 80% of the profits.  The more equitable arrangement is for the Guyana side to receive 85% of the profits and Smart City 15% which is the norm companies receive.  Except this is done, the Scheme must be scrapped.

(2) Parking Meter Scheme a drain on Guyana’s foreign exchange.

Parking Meters are not producing or generating any wealth for the country but would be exporting Guyana’s foreign exchange on a daily basis.  The Scheme should have been brought to the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Bank of Guyana for their imprimatur and except this is done immediately, the Scheme must be scrapped.

(3) Scheme condones corruption.

The Government of Guyana worked very hard over the last two years to re-establish the culture of transparency and non-corruption in Guyana.  Smart City’s Parking Meter Scheme is quickly negating all of Government’s anti-corruption efforts.  The Scheme must be scrapped before more damage is done.

(4) Parking Meters is a regulatory mechanism and never a tax or profit-making activity.

Smart City is intent on making a profit-kill and M&CC to get revenue out of the Meters.  Both activities are turning the raison d’etre of parking meters on its head and will cause untold damage.  Scrap the Scheme before the disaster it will bring to the City and all Guyana strikes.

(5) Parking Meters have started destroying businesses in Georgetown.

A large portion of people who come to the City to buy will not do so any longer;  they will use internet shopping and avoid the City.  Loss of customers and business have started.  Scrap the meters before business dies.

(6) M&CC  should cease to be in terror of scrapping this unequal Contract .  The Contract is illegal and could be legally scrapped.  M&CC must act before more damage is caused.

(7) M&CC  could easily earn more than enough revenue by collecting the monies owed to it and could easily control whatever traffic congestion may be in the City: i) M&CC are owed billions of dollars in uncollected taxes.  If they do their work and collect even a fraction of this money, they will have more than enough money.  ii) M&CC still have the numerous highrise buildings in the City paying the old rates;  they should begin to collect the proper rates.  iii) Numerous businesses have sprung up all over the City and they still pay domestic rates. M&CC should ensure that they pay the business rates.  iv) Control of Traffic.  The traffic congestion in the City is concentrated in Water and High Streets from Church Street to Hadfield Street and in the older parts of Regent Street.  Once these streets are controlled, Camp street and King street will fall into line.  The area to be controlled is small and the 50 constables who are deployed as Smart City enforcers, could easily control the traffic.

The Scheme is a burden and hated by the overwhelming majority of citizens;  is negating Central Government’s efforts in ending corruption and bringing transparency;  is saddling M&CC with an unequal Contract and unfair profit-sharing;  is a drain on Guyana’s foreign exchange;  is killing business in Georgetown;  and except for the profit harvest, it doesn’t do Smart City much good since the past of so many of its management and operatives are  being uncovered disturbing their privacy.  The Scheme does no one any good and should forthwith be scrapped since the longer it lingers, the more damage will be caused.

Yours sincerely

J. Deonauth

Secretary of the GCA.

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