Contending that parking meters will not the solve city’s woes in relation to adequate space, Mayor Ubraj Narine has suggested the creation of parking lots instead.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, the Georgetown Mayor stated that the current traffic situation in the capital city requires parking facilities rather than just parking meters.
“In this kind of development, you need parking lots. If you bring parking meters in the city, the parking meter cannot take off all this traffic that you have in the city. While you have parking lots, some people can choose to park their vehicle or if they have parking meters, they can choose to park on the pavement,” he told the media.
On the other hand, Narine added that he is not against parking meters but opined that it should be done through consultation and input from the private sector and civil society.
“Parking meter is necessary. I’m not saying no to parking meters. It is necessary but I believe, it should be done in conjunction with the private sector and other stakeholders within the city. You just can bring parking meters and wake up the next morning and see a meter at your door. That happened before. I believe a proper study, engaging the citizens and civil society, and have something comprehensive.”
One of the many parking meters left abandoned in Georgetown
The Mayor and City Council (M&CC) had entered into a contract with Smart City Solutions (SCS) under the previous A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) Government in 2016 for the installation of parking meters in the capital city.
The parking meters were active in January 2017, but this was met with strong resistance from the then PPP/C Opposition, private sector bodies, and citizens, who formed an organisation called Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM). They went on to hold some of the largest non-political protests ever seen in the city.
Amid public pressure, the then APNU/AFC Government finally intervened and suspended the by-laws which paved the way for the implementation of metered parking, thus effectively halting the parking meter project. The project has since remained stalled.
With the M&CC under the then mayorship of Patricia Chase-Green and then Town Clerk Royston King failing to implement the parking meter project, SCS is now suing the Guyana Government through the Washington, DC-based International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)—an arbitration institution established by the World Bank Group to address legal dispute resolution and conciliation between international investors and States.
City Hall is at risk of being levied on if Guyana loses the US$100 million lawsuit brought by international company, Smart City Solutions (SCS) over the terminated parking meter project. To this end, Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall, SC, last week said he is standing by his request for US$3 million to pay an international law firm to represent the country’s interest.
During last week’s sitting of the National Assembly, the Attorney General requested $100 million in supplementary funds for the Legal Affairs Ministry. Of the entire sum approved by the House, US$3 million will be made as a deposit towards those legal fees. The legal fees have attracted many public criticisms, with persons accusing the Government of wasting taxpayers’ money. But this is far from the truth, Nandlall has clarified, noting that while the APNU/AFC which made the reckless decision is out of office, his Government must defend Guyana.
During a recent interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI), he disclosed that the law firm representing Guyana in the US$100 million lawsuit, Foley Hoag and Associates, “is of very high international standing”. According to him, the Washington law firm is also leading Guyana’s legal team in the border dispute case with Venezuela at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).