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M&CC, SCS back to negotiation table; lower parking fees likely

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The calls for the suspension of the Parking meter project and revocation of the contract has forced President David Granger to convene a meeting with Mayor, Ms. Patricia Chase-Green and Town Clerk, Mr. Royston King.

The president said though the Government is not inclined to usurp the authority of the Council, he took heed of the concerns of citizens, so much so, that the issue dominated Cabinet’s deliberations on Tuesday (February 07, 2017).

“No one in the Cabinet is opposed to the need for congestion to be eased and for order in the City. We agree that the project could be helpful for raising revenue for the Municipality but only to the extent that it is not harmful to the public good,” President Granger told the two.

He said a way forward that is satisfactory to the Municipality, Government and people of Guyana must be determined.

The meeting was held on Wednesday afternoon (February 09, 2017) at State House in the presence of Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan and Attorney General, Basil Williams.

Following the meeting, Minister Bulkan without seeking to dominate or dictate, is merely encouraging the municipality to engage in further dialogue so that consensus can be reached.

He noted that while such an initiative is good for the city since it helps to restore order to City streets, reduce pollution, increases security and makes traffic management easier, it raises many questions and is considered too burdensome.

He disclosed that City Council has already commenced discussions with the the contractor, Smart City Solutions, who were very receptive and willing to consider adjustments to the tariffs to make it less burdensome. “At the end of the day the new rates that are settled would be far less onerous… When the dust is settled, persons would begin to see and appreciate the benefits that will arise from a measure such as this. Change always comes with some degree of resistance and opposition but change is part of life and one of the things that results in underdevelopment is a state of inertia and indolence,” the Minister explained.

Meanwhile, Mayor Chase-Green informed that the Council is willing to back to the negotiation table and to have further consultations with stakeholders with a view to moving forward. She added that meetings have already been held with the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU), which saw the agreement to discontinue paid parking outside of schools, the National Commission on Disabilities (NCD) to ensure that the issue of accessibility is addressed, several private sector organisations for the implementation of special price permits and with citizens, who live in paid parking zones.

“What we have to look at now is the cries of the people, who are working and have to park for eight to twelve hours. I want them to know that we’ve heard you and we will go back to the table. We will invite you to come in and we will discuss the way forward,” the Mayor said.

She explained that this project was aimed at garnering much needed revenue to pilot the kind of transformation that everyone wants to see, noting that the actual cost to construct a mile of road is about $20M-$22M and this project will generate revenue of approximately $20M per month.

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