Court hears arguments on SCS bid to be named party in challenge to city parking by-laws

Preliminary arguments commenced yesterday on the application by Smart City Solutions (SCS) to be named a party in the challenge by the New Building Society (NBS) to the by-laws governing the city’s recently suspended parking meter project.

SCS, the contractor for the project, had previously made an application through its attorney, Stephen Fraser, to be added as a party to the proceedings.

However, Counsel for NBS Pauline Chase objected to Fraser’s application.

Preliminary arguments commenced during an in-chamber hearing yesterday morning before Justice Nareshwar Harnanan at the High Court in Georgetown.

The matter has been adjourned to April 20 for continuation of arguments.

Initial hearings were done by Justice Brassington Reynolds, but on March 20, the case was transferred to Justice Harnanan.

The NBS is contending that the by-laws are illegal.

In early February, Justice Reynolds ordered that an order or rule nisi certiorari be issued directing Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan to show cause why a writ of certiorari should not be issued to quash his approval and/or decision to approve the Parking Meter By-Laws, made under the Municipal and District Councils Act on or about the 23rd day of January, 2017, in that the said approval or decision to approve was of no legal effect and was made unlawfully and in breach of statute.

The NBS challenge rests on whether the procedure for the approval of the by-laws, as stipulated in the Act, was followed. NBS has argued that by failing to gazette its intention to apply for Bulkan’s permission, City Hall acted outside the law.

NBS has also argued that the implementation of metered parking has severely affected the entity resulting in great loss and hardship. According to Anil Kishun, Chief Executive Officer of NBS, “the approval of the by-laws has put into operation a Parking Meter System which restrains and prevents our employees and customers from gaining access to our establishment without incurring large fees which is in some cases prohibitive or being guilty of a criminal offence which attracts a prison term upon summary conviction.”

In an affidavit drawn in support of the motion, Kishun said that prior to the by-laws, parking was available to employees and customers and the physical facility for it was made available at the sole expense of NBS.

Owing to widespread public outcry and weekly protest actions by members of the public, Minister Bulkan on March 21 ordered the city to suspend the by-laws for 90 days.

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