The Government of Guyana, through Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan, has suspended the by-laws for the parking meter system in Georgetown, effectively suspending the paid parking system.
The move came on Friday as the administration pressed the City Council to suspend the entire contract, but appeared to have been getting a push back from the Town Clerk, who raised some concerns about the impact of the such a move.
The suspension ordered signed by Bulkan states that “It is declared that the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown are in default of their function with respect to the Georgetown Metered Parking By-Law and I hereby direct the Mayor and Councillors to suspend the Georgetown Metered Parking By-Laws for three months commencing on the 17th March, 2017.”
Bulkan said his action is covered by Section 306 of the Municipal and District Councils Act.
That section refers to Default of Powers.
The Mayor and City Council is now expected to have an extraordinary statutory meeting in wake of the government’s move.
Acting Mayor of Georgetown, Sherod Duncan welcomed the move and in a statement said “I believe that in all instances our Government has exercised strategic patience, holding to the view that Central Government should sparingly insert itself into Local Government matters but instead allow the full measure of the democratic process to be engaged whether in rigorous debates at the level of Council or a robust democratic engagement through lawful protests.”
Duncan has given notice for the extraordinary meeting of the Council.
Government’s decision to move ahead and suspend the by-laws, came as several government ministers expressed frustration over the city council’s handling of the introduction of the parking meter issue. A number of government ministers believe the entire contract should be scrapped.
At a post-cabinet press conference on Friday, Minister of State, Joe Harmon, released a list of concerns that the cabinet has about the parking meter project. He said if the concerns of cabinet are not addressed, the contract could see full revocation.
On Thursday, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure also made known its objection, when it released a list of roads in the city that falls under its responsibility and made it clear that it never gave permission for parking meters to be erected on those roads and therefore there should be no parking meters in the areas.
The Movement Against Parking Meters group which has been hosting weekly protests against the meters, has welcomed the move by government.