Reducing fees would not remedy situation- Sooba, Protesters
Whether the supporters of the Parking Meters Project have dropped out of the movement altogether or they have joined forces with those against the project, is unclear. However, the second protest action against the project saw an increased number of persons earlier today (Thursday, February 09, 2017).
The President on Wednesday met with the Mayor and Town Clerk at State House to discuss the issues surrounding the project being implemented by Smart City Solutions (SCS) and it would seem that a decrease in the fees attached to parking will be the way to go.
However, this is not enough as protestors today continued their call for the scrapping of the project in its entirety.
One of the members of the Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM), Christopher Chapwanya told News Room that they are intending to continue this protest action for as long as it takes for the city to address their concerns.
“We will continue this process for as long as it takes because you have to understand that this is bigger than the parking meters. This company has a monopoly to control the transport system across the city so this is way beyond just parking meters, so if we don’t handle this now, we will find ourselves in a dire situation down the road” Chapwanya said.
News Room caught up with Former Town Clerk, Carol Sooba at today’s event who also expressed her view that “I don’t think at this stage, reducing fees would remedy the situation. There is, no laws about parking meter, there should be no parking meters.”
Sooba who claims she was forced out of office by the current Town Clerk and Mayor told media operatives that the Council needs to relook at the situation “to see if the Guyanese people, especially the citizens of Georgetown, whether they can be able to pay for the parking meter… and if you look at this crowd, it is not political, people from all walks of life, they don’t care”
She also did not lose the opportunity to bash the municipal authority for the way in which it chose to manage the city noting that in her 15 years as legal officer and 3 years as town clerk, it was not in the city’s plan to ever implement a parking system.
“The council has the authority to make the by-laws but there is a certain procedure and if the procedures weren’t followed and no laws in place, how could they be imposing parking meter and parking meter fees? It should not have operated, it should not have been in force, that’s to begin with” the former town Clerk outlined.
On the picket line was also Former speaker of the National Assembly, Ralph Ramkarran with a placard reading ‘Starve the green monsters…’ Ramkarran said it is time the city council “wake up and understand” that the meters are not going to be accepted by citizens.
One of the many protestors stated that this project is very much against the poor class of people because pressure on the upper class of society will see the burdens being filtered down to others.
Alluding to the effects of this system on the normal man, one citizen explained that “if you go with a taxi somewhere now, if you tell them to wait, the taxi will charge you a fee for parking, even in each store that you go to purchase things…if a store has three vehicles, then he has to pay $2000 minimum a day on those vehicle, what you think will happen? He will pass down that money to the consumer.”
At Wednesday’s meeting with the President, the Town Clerk and the Mayor agreed to go back to the negotiation table and to have further consultations with stakeholders with a view to moving forward.