Parking meters renegotiated to $150 per hour, $800 for eight hours of parking


Smart City Solutions Inc. (SCSI) and the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) of the City of Georgetown have reached a new agreement under the controversial Parking Meter Project, which will now see persons paying $150 per hour and $800 for eight hours of parking in the city.

This new structure was presented at a Special Statutory Meeting called to discuss the recommendations of the Parking Meter Renegotiation Committee, on Wednesday.

“Pay for time instead of space was agreed to by both parties, thus allowing persons to move from location to location until the time paid for is exhausted. This will allow for the transferability of time from meter to meter,” Councillor Akeem Peter proudly boasted.

Meanwhile, residents of the city would be issued with a restricted residential pass for free parking from 17:00h-19:00h Monday to Friday while parking will be free on Saturdays.

The M&CC had entered into a contract with SCSI on May 13, 2016, for parking meters to be implemented in Georgetown, but following heavy objection and intense protest from citizens, Central Government suspended the by-laws of the project.

The renegotiated contract with SCSI and the restructured fees come in light of a recent High Court ruling quashing the by-laws of the controversial project. The city, through its lawyers, has since filed an appeal to the ruling.

The renegotiation committee’s report noted that SCSI has agreed that the condition for enforcement of paid parking in the city be in conjunction with the parking meter by-laws, despite those by-laws being quashed.

Under the modified contract, both parties have agreed to have an oversight committee set up to monitor, review and manage the operations of the project. The committee is expected to have three representatives from City Hall, three from SCSI and one third-party, with the terms of reference for the committee expected to be agreed upon at a later date.

During his lengthy synopsis of the renegotiation process, Peter noted it was agreed that the project shall be reviewed every six months for the first three years, both the operational and financial aspects of the project. Additionally, there would be no immediate booting for the first three months following the recommencement of the project, but after the grace period, failure to pay parking fees for up to three violations would result in booking or towing.

Peter also said under the new arrangement SCSI may recommend that City Hall put a vehicle up for auction after 60 days of it being unclaimed.

Peter also proudly boasted that schools and religious organisations would now be required to write SCSI seeking consideration to be exempted from paid parking.

The committee’s report noted that during the renegotiations, the subject of the shared profit and he contract was discussed and it was agreed to have it remain the same – 20/80 M&CC-SCSI for a period of 20 years. It was also disclosed that in the event of arbitration the proceedings would be held in Miami despite the jurisdiction being Guyana.

The final report of the committee was presented to Georgetown Mayor Patricia Chase Green on Monday and sent to Councillors around 18:00h on Tuesday. Several of the Councillors complained of not enough time being allotted for them to peruse the 90 plus pages of the document.

Councillor Alfred Mentore said that he would have preferred more time to decipher the minutes of the meetings the committee had with SCSI so that he could seek clarifications and he would have also wanted to have his constituents’ input in his final decision.

Councillors Khame Sharma, Bishram Kuppen and Deputy Mayor Lionel Jaikaran also reiterated that position. The Deputy Mayor during his charged presentation on the recommendations of the report reiterated that the contract should be scrapped, and the process restarted since it was a project that was shrouded in secrecy. He added that while he was not against metered parking, he was against the process that led to SCSI being the contractor since the initial contract lacked transparency.

“The matter is still in front of the court and it is sub judice…I feel that this contract should not have been renegotiated…we need help and parking meters would offer relief coupled with proper traffic management, but I don’t believe Smart City is the solution…you could put lipstick on a pig and at the end of the day, it’s still a pig,” Jaikaran noted. (Lakhram Bhagirat)



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