–PPP Councillors requests Procurement Commission to investigate contract
Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) Councillors, Bishram Kuppen and Khame Sharma are asking the Public Procurement Commission (PPC) to investigate the controversial Parking Meter contract, which was unilaterally awarded to Smart City Solutions Inc. (SCSI) by the Mayor & City Council (M&CC).
In a letter dated October 2, Sharma and Kuppen requested the PPC to determine five factors. They are requesting that it be determined whether the national interest was safeguarded when the contract was signed; if the Officers and personnel who signed the Contract acted in accordance with the rules and regulations as it relates to procurement of a contract of this magnitude and cost.
Additionally, they are asking the PPC to determine whether the process of awarding the contract was done in a fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost effective manner; to make a pronouncement on the sole sourcing and whether the Ministry of Communities was complicit in the execution of this Contract by signing and gazetting the By-Laws thereby operationalizing paid metered parking in the City of Georgetown.
When contacted, Georgetown Mayor Patricia Chase-Green said that the Council is open to the level of scrutiny the Councillors are requesting. She said that she has no issues with the duo exercising their democratic rights in calling for an independent investigation but noted that the Council has taken decisions and are moving ahead with the implementation of those decisions.
M&CC had entered into a contract with SCSI on May 13, 2016, for parking meters to be implemented in Georgetown. A committee was set up on April 26 2017, one month after Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan suspended the paid parking initiative, to examine the way forward.
The life of the Parking Meter Re-negotiation Committee ended with it submitting its final report and finding to the Mayor of Georgetown on August 2 and later circulated to all Councillors. The report made three recommendations, which included renegotiating the contract with SCSI, scrapping the entire project and awaiting the outcome of the pending court cases.
On September 7, a majority of the Councillors voted in favour of continuing the metered parking systems with a renegotiated contract. A new committee would have to be selected and Chase-Green has mandated that two members of the public sit on that committee.
The new committee, according to the draft TORs, would be tasked with engaging Smart City Solutions with a view to renegotiating the terms of the agreement entered into between the parties and more specifically to seek to take into account the concerns raised and addressed in the reports of the Special Committee in relation to costs, fines, enforcement, profit-sharing, areas, times and other factors identified in relation to the project and any other relevant actions as the Committee may, in its discretion, determine or as may be suggested by the general council.
Upon completion of the negotiation period, the new committee would have to prepare a report and present it to Council at a meeting called for that purpose, setting out the proposals and or agreements arrived at.
In their letter to Chairman of the PPC, Carol Corbin, Sharma and Kuppen traced the series of events that led the pending renegotiated contract. The new committee will be installed on October 9.