Protestors continue push for scrapping of parking meter deal

Former Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr Frank Anthony (right) was one of several political figures who made an appearance in support of the parking meter protest.

The promise of a 50% reduction in the parking rates in the city did not dissuade supporters of the Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM) from taking to the streets again for a third protest against the implementation of the parking system yesterday.

The protest saw a significant turnout, although the numbers had fallen compared to last week, when arguably more than 1,000 persons came out.

Many of the faces observed yesterday were of those of protestors who turned out to every demonstration since the movement’s formation.

City Mayor Patricia Chase-Green on Monday announced that parking meter rates would be slashed by 50% to a possible $28 VAT inclusive for 15 minutes or just over $100 per hour.

Those supporting the movement, however, are unmoved by this news, since they, from the beginning, have been calling for the contract to be scrapped.

“Eventually they’ll have to raise the rates based on the projections of the investment that the investors are making. The $100 an hour that they’re saying or the 50% reduction will not work with them. They will have to raise the rates, so we’re not stupid. The people of Georgetown are not stupid, so they’ll have to scrap the contract,” PPP Councillor Bishram Kuppen stated during the protest yesterday.

“…it should be scrapped because negotiating reduced rates should not be on the cards because that would be blessing a dirty deal,” retired senior banker John Barnes commented.

Among the criticisms of the contract is the lack of transparency surrounding it, including the failure by City Hall to invite bidders for the project.

Columnist Freddie Kissoon, who was present at the protest, called the deal “lopsided” and “bizarre,” and questioned the contract’s integrity as he said no lawyer was present during its signing.

“I don’t know what contract they’re going to replace it with but this contract and its implications should go and I don’t think the Guyanese people after coming out of 23 years of Jagdeo and Ramotar should tolerate it. I am here because I see this as a reversion to what Mr Jagdeo and Mr Ramotar were doing,” Kissoon said.

Also of concern to sections of the citizenry was that proper stakeholder consultation was not done prior to the city’s partnership with Smart City Solutions (SCS), the company responsible for implementing the metered parking project.

As a result, the MAPM has invited the Mayor of the city to a town hall-style meeting tomorrow to speak with citizens.

“You want consultation, this is a consultation on a broader scale and on a fair scale,” Don Singh, one of the organisers of the MAPM, stated yesterday. The meeting is open to the public and is scheduled for 3 pm at the St Stanislaus College auditorium.

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