The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry today backed calls for the immediate revoking of the parking meters contract and at the same time posed a series of questions to the city and the government on the deal.
A statement from the Chamber follows:
On Wednesday, 29 March 2017, Executive Management of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce & Industry (GCCI) met with representatives from the Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM) for a discussion about the issues surrounding the controversial Parking Meter Agreement between the Georgetown Mayor & City Council (M&CC) and Smart City Solutions (SCS), and the recent public announcement by Minister of Communities, Mr. Ronald Bulkan’s that Parking Meters ‘are here to stay’ in Guyana.
The GCCI used the opportunity to brief MAPM about its (GCCI) own research which reflected a significant downturn in economic activity directly as a result of the introduction of paid parking among others issues in the Central Business District of Georgetown and its members’ ongoing concerns about the planned phased roll out of metered parking in Georgetown.
Several current and pertinent issues were discussed at the meeting between the GCCI and MAPM and these included:
· lack of evidence of any economic/ social impact assessment done prior to the implementation of the agreement between M&CC and SCS
· the absence of any feasibility studies done on the project prior to its implementation
· the blatant failures to adhere to the Public Procurement process – clear indications that the procurement regulations of both the M&CC and the Government of Guyana have been breached
· no provisions made for concessionary parking for persons affected by disabilities
· the discourteous, often belligerent manner in which the SCS operatives go about enforcing parking restrictions
· questions about SCS’s record and experience of managing parking meter systems anywhere in the world before coming to Guyana and of the numerous operational issues that have emerged attesting to the inexperience and general disorganization of SCS in implementing a Parking Meter system
· VAT is being charged on penalties imposed under the parking rules In other words a Fine plus tax on that Fine.
· the complete lack of transparency in the process
· failure to demonstrate thorough and comprehensive consultation with the people of Guyana
· failure by the M&CC to make public all Feasibility Studies conducted
· failure by the M&CC to make public all reports ,minutes etc. from stakeholders’ meetings held prior to the implementation of the parking meter project with SCS
· absence of any evidence to demonstrate that the tendering process used in the selection and award of the contract to SCS was fair and transparent
· the absence of comprehensive details regarding the timetable for consultations following the suspension of the contract between M&CC and SCS
· the absence of any details regarding which stakeholders and organizations the M&CC will be consulting during the consultations process
· reasonable calls by members of the public for a comprehensive audit of the Georgetown Mayor & City Council by independent auditors
The GCCI requests that the M&CC and the Government of Guyana make public disclosure of the following documents related to the imposition of parking meters in Georgetown:
1. Evidence to demonstrate that the tendering process used in the selection and award of the contract to SCS was fair and transparent.
2. Make public all reports, minutes etc. from stakeholders’ meetings held prior to the implementation of the parking meter project with SCS.
3. Details regarding which stakeholders and organizations the M&CC will be consulting during the consultations process and a timetable of this.
4. Evidence to demonstrate that the tendering process used in the selection and award of the contract to SCS was fair and transparent.
Albeit, the GCCI welcomes the suspension of the Parking Meter Contract, the GCCI nevertheless supports the MAPM’s position and strongly calls on the M&CC and the Government of Guyana to immediately revoke the current parking meter contract between the SCS and the M&CC. The GCCI further calls on the Government of Guyana and the M&CC to implement a fair and transparent process that involves all stakeholders with regard to the procurement and introduction of a parking system in Georgetown that would address traffic congestion.