A Washington law firm – Foley Hoag and Associates – has been retained by the government to fight off a US$100 million lawsuit by the Mexican parking meter company which is claiming damages after the former government intervened amidst citizen protests and cancelled the project.
Smart City Solutions is suing the government for non-implementation and Attorney General Anil Nandlall has told the News Room that a mountain of filings was done as the company seeks compensation for its investment and promised profits.
Already, Nandlall has said that it is just a reminder of the destruction that the former APNU+AFC administration caused, noting it continues even with them out of government.
But the APNU+AFC opposition, has in turn, blamed the ruling People’s Progressive Party (PPP) saying it was their rejection of the project while in Opposition and the daily protests that never saw the project being fully implemented although scores of parking meters had already been installed in several city streets.
Nandlall responded to this saying the PPP was never involved in the protests although it registered its objections, particularly since the negotiations and final agreement were shrouded in secrecy.
“PPP deliberately did not participate in the public protests. Those protests were by citizens and workers who considered themselves to have been affected.
“They [the APNU+AFC] refused to implement the project because of protestation and now we are before an international arbitration tribunal… we now have to defend that,” Nandlall told the News Room on Thursday
“… but we will consider every option possible to ensure we get a decision in the best interest of the people of Guyana,” he added while also declining to comment on future implementation of the project.
In May 2016, the Georgetown Mayor and City Council signed a contract with the Mexican company for a paid parking system to be rolled out in Georgetown.
The meters were active in January 2017 but this was met with strong resistance from the then opposition, private sector bodies and ordinary citizens.
Amid public pressure, the then APNU+AFC Government intervened a few months later and halted the parking meter project, which has since remained stalled.