Speaker nixes parking meters motion

Speaker of the National Assembly, Barton Scotland on Monday decided that a motion in the name of PPP/C MP Irfaan Ali calling for an immediate forensic audit into the Georgetown City Council including the controversial parking meter project could not be debated in the house since “the matter was sub judice.”

The contract between the city and Smart City Solutions (SCS) was championed at the city council by A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) members including the current Mayor, Patricia Chase-Green. However Deputy Mayor, Sherod Duncan, a member of the coalition partner the Alliance for Change (AFC) has said he cannot support the contract since it had been entered into without use of the public procurement system.

The recital to Ali’s motion noted that the Mayor and Town Clerk had entered into a contractual arrangement with Smart City Solutions (SCS) for the installation of parking meters but that there had been no consultation with the citizenry by the Mayor and City Council. SCS had held a number of consultations with various stakeholders but these were not well attended.

Ali’s motion further noted that citizens who drive into and traverse the capital have called for an abandonment of the project because of the “financial hardships” it threatens.

The motion also adverted to two reviews of the contract by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Legal Affairs which said among other things that municipal tender procedures were violated, the contract was heavily in favour of SCS and the cost was burdensome.

Ali noted that the company has been proceeding full speed ahead with its plan “with aggressive promotion, importation of equipment and the hiring of staff”.

He said this has been occurring even though there are legal hurdles and outstanding questions including whether the Mayor and City Council has authority over public roads like Regent Street, Water Street and Avenue of the Republic where parking meters are to be established.

Ali also noted the AFC’s and Duncan’s opposition to the project and in the resolve clause of the motion asks that the National Assembly “calls on the Auditor General of Guyana to immediately conduct a forensic audit into the Georgetown Municipal Council including the Parking Meter Contract”.

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