The Mayor and her team seem to be ignoring an avalanche of concerns regarding the controversial parking meter project, which many believe to be a shady deal aimed at exploiting the public.
The Mayor, Patricia Chase-Green, Town Clerk Royston King and a team are currently in Mexico City to wrap-up the final rollout schedule of the parking meter project even as criticisms continue to pour in from individual commentators, transparency advocates, the parliamentary opposition and the Deputy Mayor himself, Sherod Duncan concerning the project.
Concerns include the total lack of transparency surrounding the project, the legitimacy of the company contracted, the price proposed to be charged, the fact that no prior public consultations were held with stakeholders, and the overall secrecy and constant inconsistencies that surround the undertaking.
But those concerns were blatantly disregarded when Town Clerk King made it clear the project is still on stream.
“While it is unfortunate that certain individuals have taken advantage of the absence of the Mayor to advance negative, divisive and completely untrue narratives, the Mayor and the travelling delegation plan to hold a press conference upon their return to provide updates on this very important and productive trip,” King said in a statement released from Mexico.
King maintained that this project will become the pioneering centre of wider modernisation and improvements coming to the City that will accelerate it towards parity with the other great capital cities across the world.
On the other hand, many stakeholders believe this secretive parking meter project which was inked with the controversial National Parking Systems/Smart City Solutions should be immediately scrapped.
Former 1st Vice President of Transparency Institute of Guyana Inc (TIGI) and Chartered Accountant Christopher Ram said that, “it’s very troubling indeed” for a project of such magnitude, information is hardly available. He lambasted M&CC for failing to follow proper public procurement procedures for the multimillion-dollar parking meter initiative.
Additionally, commentator and transparency advocate Ramon Gaskin described the entire controversy as “very, very fishy”.
“The only information that is available is what’s in the press… nobody has seen any contract of anything. The whole thing as my friends said has the smell of unrefrigerated fish. The whole thing sounds very funny, not transparent, it didn’t go to tender, it’s a big problem,” he remarked.
On Sunday last, former Speaker of the National Assembly and commentator Ralph Ramkarran said the undertaking seems to be nothing but a “get-rich-quick scheme”, given the capricious and tenuous strategies and justifications provided for some aspects of the project.
The short-lived excitement of the parking meter project was eclipsed by controversy and accusations of corruption after some city councillors, including the Deputy Mayor refused to endorse the project on the grounds that the council was not provided with enough information on the project and its contractor, including the contract with the council inked with National Parking Systems/Smart City Solutions to install and operate the meters.
There are also questions about the companies’ track record in parking meter installation.