A legal showdown may be looming if the Georgetown City Council decides to ignore an existing contract that it has with one company for the setting up of parking meters in the city.
News Source has learnt that City Hall has been in negotiation with a U.S based Guyanese company for the setting up and management of a parking meter system in parts of Georgetown. But that negotiation is taking place even as City is currently in an existing contract with a locally based company for the same purpose.
Back in 2007, the Georgetown City Council signed a contract with Astrolobe Technology Inc. after the company’s Managing Director, Saratu Phillips, proposed a structured parking meter system for the Georgetown area.
The system was never introduced as the former City Council faced several financial hurdles imposed by the former PPP Civic government. Additionally, Mr. Phillips had been pushing the Council to update a number of its by-laws that could affect the setting up of the parking system.
Nine years later and a new Government and City Council in place, Phillips now finds himself looking at his legal options after the City Council started moves to bring in another company for the same existing contract.
Speaking to News Source on Thursday, Mr. Phillips explained that he is ready to move ahead with the project and was left dumbfounded when information surfaced that City Hall was moving to involve someone else, while ignoring the existing agreement.
“The architecture and everything for this parking system that we had envisioned in 2007 is already laid out and we have it together”, he assured.
Phillips said he is surprised by the move by the Council especially since it has been in talks with him over setting up the meter system recently. He added that when Town Clerk, Royston King told him that the contract he has may not be an exclusive one, he provided the Town Clerk with the contract proving otherwise.
“In 4.5 of the contract, it states specifically that this contract is an exclusive contract and Saratu Phillips and Astrolobe Technology are the only persons who would be doing paid parking or any form of structured parking within the city”.
He said once he made that information available, he was told that “there are other persons on the Council who want to work with this other person”.
The other company that wants to take over the contract is reportedly based in the United States and has veteran broadcaster and businessman, Bobby Vieira, as its local representative.
He said Vieira appeared surprised when he informed him of the existing contract, but the man who heads the company now seeking the contract does not appear to care about any existing contract.
“I spoke to the man who heads this other company and he was offering me a job as a consultant”, Phillips explained adding that the other contractor has threatened to use his political clout to ensure the contract switches to him.
News Source made several efforts to contact the Town Clerk on the issue. He was unavailable.
Meanwhile, Phillips said he is prepared and ready to roll out with the project with the support of the City Council. He said Georgetown is in great need of a structured parking system and his plan is ideal for an area like Georgetown.
He said all he wants right now is for City Hall to recognise and respect the current contract and allow him to move ahead with the project.
The Parking Meter system could increase revenue for the Georgetown City Council and was touted by many of the candidates during the recent local government elections.