Government suspends Parking Meter By-Laws with immediate effect; Police to protect Citizens’ vehicles

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Cabinet today (Tuesday, March 21, 2017) deliberated on City Hall’s failure to suspend the Parking Meter Project after being asked by the Government to do so.

As a consequence, the Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan was directed to formally suspend the operation of the By-laws governing the Parking Meter project with immediate effect, a statement from the Ministry of the Presidency said on Tuesday evening.

A Suspension Order was granted by the Minister Bulkan to suspend the Georgetown Metered Parking by-laws for three months, with effect from last Friday (March 17, 2017); also a decision made by cabinet.

March 21, 2017 Extraordinary meeting of the council

However, at an extraordinary statutory meeting of the Council on Monday (March 20, 2017), Town Clerk, Royston King said it his view, based on a majority of the Councillors, that they needed more time to study the recommendations given by the Lawyer. The recommendations were sought given the legal implications of such a decision.

According to King, “it was this Council that approved it (the contract between the Mayor and City Council and Smart City Solutions), and it is only this Council that can disapprove it or suspend it, and that is why based on the laws, I brought the matter to the Council.”

He also explained that the legal implications in going ahead with the suspension of the contract were given by the Council’s Attorney.

According to the document given by the Council’s Attorney, Roger Yearwood, the order of the Honourable Minister dated 17th day of March 2017, “is ultra vires, null and void.” He argued that the Minister is not permitted to direct the Council to suspend any contract or By-law as he is purporting to do.

The Attorney also noted that such actions will leave the Council susceptible to a claim for breach of contract by SCS Inc.

Vehicles Clamped on March 21, 2017 (MAPM photo)

Following yesterday’s meeting of the council, it was noted that there has been an increase in the clamping of vehicles around the city by agents of the Council. This also saw citizens reacting by damaging clamps and other properties belonging to the contracted company, Smart City Solutions. The clamping was documented by the Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM).

However, Cabinet also decided today (Tuesday, March 21, 2017) that the citizen and their vehicles will be protected by ranks of the Guyana Police Force.

“The Minister of Public Security, Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan was also instructed to advise the Commissioner of Police to ensure that as of Wednesday, March 22, 2017, citizens and their vehicles would receive the protection of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) to prevent them and/or their vehicles from being unduly hindered or restrained in any way, whatsoever, by the GCC and/or its agents,” the statement from the Ministry of the Presidency said.

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