GUYANA – ‘Death to parking meter by-laws’
GEORGETOWN – In its sixth week of protesting against the implementation of parking meters in the City of Georgetown, the Movement against Parking Meters has made their plea much more colourful by calling for the death of the parking meter by-laws.
This message was communicated vividly yesterday with the enactment of a funeral procession in-front of the City Hall on Regent Street. A significant number of protesters were clad in black bottoms and white tops bearing the word ‘Undertaker’.
Participants in the mock funeral also had three mini coffins; one covered with the words ‘by-laws’, another had a make-shift parking meter inside while the third had a replica of City Hall sitting in it. They lifted the props and paraded around the other protesters who were standing in the middle of the road.
The scene resembled the funeral that was enacted for former Acting Town Clerk Carol Sooba in 2014. Sooba had accused the then Mayor Hamilton Green and Deputy Mayor Patricia-Chase-Green of instigating the act. Chase-Green is now the Mayor of the Capital City.
The ‘undertakers’ added flair to their demonstration by wailing and crying as persons who are in mourning would at a funeral. One of them held up a sign which spoke about the Biblical Scripture. The placard read, “David took out a stone. He slung it and killed Goliath. We are calling on our David to remove the Philistines from G/T. Remove G/T Goliaths.”
Those in the procession even went as far as to sing Amazing Grace. At the stroke of 1 p.m., the protesters sang a stanza of the National Anthem before departing the location.
This series of protests began six weeks ago by MAPM who said that it is an apolitical group calling for the revocation of the parking meter contract. The group is calling for a feasibility study to be produced which justifies the implementation of parking meters in Georgetown.
Last week, the group called on Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan to stand and accept responsibility of the implementation of the project since he had signed off on the by-laws making paid parking legal.
Bulkan’s actions were described by MAPM members as the ‘selling out’ of the City since under the contract Smart City Solutions, the company who received the contract to install meters is receiving 80 per cent of profits while the Georgetown M&CC is getting 20 per cent.
The group is calling for the project to be revoked and true consultation done whereby persons are given all the facts and become part of the decision making process. They believe that any deviation from that process would simply be an information sharing process.
As details of the original contract which remain unchanged were publicized the movement gathered more support. Some of the articles of the contract put the M&CC in the position to absorb all losses and liabilities incurred by the project.
The contract also gives SCS the power to establish distinct and multiple geographic Parking Zones within the territory of the City which shall be subject to distinct Metered Parking Fees and Parking Fines.
Further, the company can begin charging for parking beyond 7 p.m. This can be done in places classified as “nocturnal areas” which are typically frequented during evening hours.
The parking meter project has been filled with controversy due to how the representatives from the council dealt with the company in terms of ensuring due diligence was done and stakeholders consulted.