Parking meters report under wraps

Though the parking meters re-negotiation team submitted its final report almost one week ago City Councillors and other stakeholders are still to receive copies and at least one group is worried about City Hall’s continued silence.

Don Singh speaking on behalf of the Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM) told Stabroek News yesterday that the group is disappointed that the report has not been shared.

“Having heard that the report is out, we are disappointed that it has not been made available for public perusal given the keen interest of citizens in this matter,” Singh explained.

Malcom Ferreira

He reminded that the problems which led to the suspension of the metered parking contract developed because the Council was less than transparent in their negotiation and signing of the original contract.

“We sincerely hope that a transparent process will be followed unlike what pertained in the first instance where councillors were asked to vote on a contract that they had not seen,” he stressed.

Chair of the metered parking renegotiation team Malcolm Ferreira submitted the final report to Mayor Patricia Chase-Green and Town Clerk Royston King on August 2, three days after a July 30 deadline.

Two days after the submission City Hall noted that the full council would  consider the contents of the report on August 14. In the interim the report was to be distributed to the members of the council for their perusal however Stabroek News has reached out to several councillors all of whom note that they are not yet in receipt of a copy of the report.

The metered parking project implemented the city was halted by the government following a public outcry and almost seven weeks of protest organized by MAPM calling for the contract to be revoked. MAPM has argued that the contract was negotiated and signed outside of local procurement laws and is thus illegal. Government having deemed the project to be onerous suspended the bylaws which empowered metered parking and gave the city three months to renegotiate a contract the entire council can support. Those three months expired on June 21 but an extension to July 30 was granted at the request of the renegotiating team.

Since its formation in April the seven-member team led by Ferreira met with Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan and the City’s legal representative Roger Yearwood.

The committee also met with MAPM, the Private Sector Commission and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Ferreira had previously explained that arrangements were made to meet with residents of the city living in and out of the metered parking zones as well as taxi and bus drivers. These engagements did not go as planned and Ferreira noted that the most disheartening moment of the process so far was when only one citizen, Don Singh, showed up on the day when residents were invited.

He had told Council that his committee had gone so far as to set up a tent at the Stabroek Square and invited persons to speak with them.

While taxi drivers responded to this request; minibus drivers were either too busy or didn’t care enough to engage on the issue.

Determined the committee then prepared an eight-point questionnaire and went to meet drivers individually over a three-day period, two nights of house-to-house consultations then followed.

The committee during their consultation visited all the bus and car parks and had 345 questionnaires completed, Ferreira explained.

Other members of the committee are Councillors Noelle Chow-Chee, Roopnarine Persaud, Ivelaw Henry, Tricia Richards, Carlyle Goring and Heston Bostwick.

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