President David Granger has called for greater transparency to prevail in relation to the highly-controversial parking meter project which, according to City Councillors, is shrouded in secrecy.
The President also expressed concerns of the proposed rates for parking being too burdensome on citizens.
State Minister Joseph Harmon disclosed on Wednesday that in light of mounting concerns over the initiative, Cabinet ordered that the contract between the Town Council and National Parking Systems/Smart City Solutions (NPS/SCS) Inc be reviewed by the Finance Ministry and Attorney General’s Chambers.
Harmon had cautioned that Central Government is limited in its intervention since it is undemocratic and outright unlawful to interfere in matters under the remit of the City Council.
Prompted for his take on the situation, the President during the taping of his weekly telecast, the “Public Interest” on Thursday, said he is deeply concerned about the issues being raised in relation to the project.
“Obviously we want to protect the national interests…I am disappointed that there are members of the public who feel they were not consulted…The whole purpose of having democratic elections is to have democratically run councils,” Granger stated.
He noted that his Government cannot do much but insisted that transparency and accountability prevail.
“As far as the Government is concerned, we would insist that there is greater transparency…we cannot overrule the council which is a legal body but we can ask for transparent procedures to prevail,” he stated.
In his address to City Council next week, the President plans to also urge the Council to continue in its efforts to foster urban renewal. These include the sanitation projects, cleaning of canals, solid waste management, the clearing of D’Urban Park, among others.
Granger said he will also urge the Council to focus on developing housing programmes in a joint effort with the Housing Department. “I would also urge them to look at minimising slums and squatter settlements, together with Central Government to embark on a programme of housing which would help indigent families move out of the blighted areas of the town and go into decent housing,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has joined many in calling for the parking meter programme to be scrapped immediately.
During a news conference on Thursday, Jagdeo explained that apart from the controversial nature of the project, the proposed fees are extremely exorbitant and will only add to the financial burdens of the people of the country.
Since the signing of the contract for the parking meter project, many persons, including councillors, over the past weeks have raised concerns about the lack of transparency in the deal, which they claim appears to be a shady one indeed aimed at exploiting the local populace.
Since the signing of the contract for the parking meters project, many persons, including councillors, over the past weeks have raised concerns about the lack of transparency in the deal, which they claim appears to be a shady one indeed aimed at exploiting the local populace.