first_imgGovernment holds the power to legally terminate the parking meter project if it is genuinely against any move that imposes additional burdens on the working class.Opposition Leader Bharrat JagdeoThe Administration has been sympathetic to the outcry of the public over the ongoing instalment of parking meters throughout the capital city, but maintains that it has no authority to instruct City Hall – an independent body – on how to conduct its work.Deputy Mayor Sherod DuncanTaxpayers have decried the concept of the project since before the green light was given for its implementation on the basis that it would contribute to the already onerous expenses of a typical citizen.They had also lamented the lack of consultations before the imposition of this new initiative and the fact that the entire undertaking was shrouded in secrecy and crafted in such a way to enrich just a handful.Director of Smart City Solutions Amir OrenAmid these concerns, the Administration had reviewed the project in search of illegalities and after finding none, granted its approval and made some recommendations to make the idea more favourable to the public.But Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo contended that if the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition really cared about the welfare of the populace, it would ensure its councillors on the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) make decisions reflective of the political party’s policies and campaign promises.“APNU has the majority of councillors on the City Council. All they have to say, like we say to our councillor, we campaigned on the platform not to raise taxes in any of the NDCs and we are not in favour of raising any rates and taxes across this country, and when we campaigned for Local Government Elections, we made that clear,” the former President explained.Kit NascimentoHe posited that the project, in its current form and at this time, will only enslave the city and its residents, as well as drive businesses out of Georgetown.“Things are too difficult for people to face increased taxes. They (Government) can easily kill this parking meter contract or have it adjusted,” Jagdeo emphasised.The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Parliamentary Opposition’s motion on the project was on November 24 deferred by Speaker Dr Barton Scotland, in light of a pending court matter on the project.Deputy Mayor, AFC’s Sherod Duncan, has staunchly objected to the project, noting among other concerns, that there was no public tendering to award the contract to the best bidder.The Private Sector Commission (PSC) also opposed the implementation, arguing that it will put a strain on the working people, many of whom do not earn enough to pay for that kind of service.Although the parking meter project came under fire from all sides, the M&CC is moving ahead with its implementation, with the first phase set to be completed in December.Not only will citizens be forced to pay the charge, they will have to endure paying Value Added Tax (VAT) on it until the city can have it removed. The implementation process is divided into two phases – the first phase will occupy 3237 parking spaces in Georgetown, utilising 157 parking meters.The second phase will be completed three months after the first phase, and would cover 4000 spaces and utilise 163 parking meters. The locations for the meters in the second phase were not divulged to the public.Initially, the project was being spearheaded by Ifa Kamau Cush, who was named the Director of Smart City Solutions. However, just a few weeks into the project, the company’s Public Relations Officer, Kit Nascimento, stated that Cush was only a shareholder of the company and was no longer operational.Smart City Solutions’ director is Amir Oren.The initial fees were also reduced and commuters will now be charged $50 plus VAT for 15 minutes; this will also be mandatory to public transportation, until preparations are made for alternative parking spaces.The parking meters would be operational from 07:00 to 19:00h Mondays to Saturdays. However, parking is free any time before 07:00h and after 19:00h, and on Sundays and holidays.last_img read more