A meeting with Cabinet has left City Hall hopeful that metered parking will be returning to the City although when that is likely to happen remains uncertain.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Town Clerk Royston King described Tuesday’s meeting as cordial, he added that Cabinet had asked for and received a copy of the feasibility study conducted by Smart City Solutions (SCS) along with several other pieces of documentation.
“There was sympathy and understanding for the challenges we face as a municipality. I am happy that we were given an opportunity to make our presentation and know that cabinet would need time to examine the matter,” King explained.
He stressed that council would like to give central government which has an abiding interest in the city an opportunity to study all the documentation.
According to King, SCS continues to be very patient and co-operative with the requests by central government. He noted that they are committed to working with the city to roll out a project that everyone is comfortable with.
Minister of Communities Ronald Bullkan had forwarded the amended Metered Parking By-laws to Cabinet after receiving them in late May.
In confirming receipt of the By-laws Bulkan told Stabroek News that he did not feel good seeing the regulations on his desk again, especially since only 13 of 30 elected city councillors voted in favour of its contents.
For Bulkan, those 13 votes do not reflect “a vote of confidence” but he was prepared to take the by-laws to Cabinet for discussion since it was that forum that suspended the previous by-laws and directed that they be reviewed. The metered parking project has remained in limbo since the March, 2017 suspension of the previous by-laws by central government.
They were then reviewed twice before being approved by majority vote and placed on public display on April 5th.
Meanwhile, the Metered Parking Contract remains the subject of a court dispute. Justice Brassington Reynolds is still to make a ruling in the application filed by Mohendra Arjune to have the court quash the M&CC’s agreement with SCS.
Arjune’s application for judicial review is based on the contention that the city failed to comply with the law in entering the contract. His lawyer Kamal Ramkarran has argued that the M&CC failed to comply with mandatory prerequisites set out in Sections 230 and 231 of the Municipal and District Councils Act.
Section 231 of the Act states that before entering into any contract for the execution of any work or the supply of any goods to the value of $250,000 or more, a council is required to give notice of such proposed contract and “shall by such notice invite any person willing to undertake the same to submit a sealed tender thereof to the council….” The project was not publicly tendered, which has been one of the bases upon which it has been criticized.
Ramkarran also contends that by entering into the May 13, 2016 contract, the M&CC unlawfully and in an ultra vires manner delegated its statutorily derived power to erect and maintain parking meters under and in terms of Section 276(b) of the Act and acted contrary to Section 21 of the Civil Law Act of Guyana, which prohibits the establishment of monopolies in Guyana. He also argued that the decision by the M&CC and SCS to exempt teachers and employees of the Bank of Guyana from charges was arbitrary, discriminatory and contrary to the operation of the rule of law.