City hall defers vote on Parking Meter by-laws
By Bibi Khatoon
Councillors on Monday afternoon voted in favour of deferring a vote on the new by-laws governing metered parking in Georgetown to April 4, 2018.
The by-laws were on the agenda of the council’s statutory meeting on Monday but several councillors stated that they cannot afford to debate the document having only received it on Saturday, March 24.
Team Legacy’s Councillor, Malcolm Ferreira noted that the document contains 76 pages and it is important to properly vet the document in order to avoid issues encountered in the past as it relates to the by-laws and general metered parking in the city.
The implementation of the parking meter project with Smart City Solutions (SCS) in 2016 saw widespread protests.
“Examining the draft by-laws is 76 pages. Given that the last bylaws were found null and void by a court, it is only right that we are given enough time, and in many cases given time to get legal advice and protect the city from a recurrence of what happened before,” Ferreira told the council.
People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Councillor, Bisham Kuppen said he also received his copy of the document on Saturday evening and recommended that time is given to consider the new by-laws.
Another councillor, Welton Clarke got everyone’s attention when he told the council that: “I received this document on Saturday night -that is my festive night when I care to get drunk. I get drunk. Can’t read and pay attention to that many pages constructively and honestly to put something in effect that will interfere with the tranquillity and functions of all citizens.”
Councillor, Andrea Marks refused to participate in any discussion on the new parking meter by-laws until a decision is given by Cabinet since the initial parking meter by-laws were suspended by the Government.
However, Chairman of the committee that reviewed the parking meter contract and made changes to the by-laws, Akeem Peter believes that there should have been no issue with approving the new by-laws as it contains little change from what was proposed by the first renegotiating committee.
“This is one of the documents that the committee was mandated to look at upon finishing renegotiations and Madame Mayor, out of this 76 page document, this document [he said holding up a few sheets of paper outlining the difference between the old and new by-laws], was prepared stating the changes that were made in the contract because upon legal advice from the council’s attorney…and another attorney who sat on the council, that the prices must be reflected in the by-laws so what we did was interchange the prices and the format for charging for time,” Peter explained.
He also accused councillors of having ulterior motives for not wanting the document to be passed
This accusation struck a nerve in Ferreira who was the Chair of the first renegotiating committee and also the first to ask for the matter to be deferred.
“There is no ulterior motive, the only motive is to ensure the city gets what it supposed to get and that the residents are protected,” Ferreira said in a raised tone of voice which caused Mayor Patricia Chase-Green to intervene.
According to a document seen by News Room, unlike the previous laws governing metered parking in the city where a vehicle can only use the time purchased in one parking space, the new proposal states that the time purchased can be used anywhere.
To ensure this works, it was stated that persons are no longer required to pay for spaces but rather just the time.
Included in the documents are the new rates for metered parking within the city at a cost of $150 per hour or $800 for eight hours.
The proposed new fines are $2,000+ VAT for the first three months, $4,000 from 4-6 months, $6,000 for 7-9 months and $8,000 thereafter. The prior by-laws included an over fine of $8,000.