At least one Councillor on the Georgetown City Council is of the view that the suspension of the parking meter by-laws may be an indication of the government having no confidence in the Georgetown City Council.
Councillor Malcolm Ferreira believes the intervention by the government to immediately suspend the controversial metered parking system in Georgetown is an indication that City Hall has failed and or has exceeded its mandate as a local government body.
The government’s move was prompted after the government initially recommended the three month suspension of the contract, but the City Council failed to heed the advice. The government, via Minister of State Joseph Harmon has said that it would not intervene in the affairs of the local government body unless it becomes absolutely necessary.
Speaking to News Source earlier today, Councillor Ferreira, who represents the Albouystown and Charlestown Constituency, acknowledged the need for intervention by the government. However, he questioned the possibility of balancing a “directive” from Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan – who announced the suspension – and the elected council which is supposed to be autonomous.
The councilor went on state that, “The honourable Minister signed the by-laws that were approved by a majority (APNU) vote and then directed the council to suspend the same laws that he approved – during protests – that may be viewed as meddling but it’s clearly a No Confidence Motion”.
He further explained that the intervention by the government, after local representatives would have been elected through local government elections, is an indication that City Hall has failed or had exceeded its mandate.
The Councillor believes that dissolving the Council and calling new elections might be ideal at this time.
“LGE was meant to allow elected leaders to perform for the citizens of georgetown, and if the Government has to intervene in this manner then it clearly shows that City Hall has failed and or exceeded its mandate and the government has had to offer protection via the police force, so on those grounds too, maybe the Honourable Minister should consider” Ferreira said.
In addition to ordering an immediate suspension of the project, the government has also assured citizens that they will enjoy the protection of the Guyana Police Force if attempts are made to clamp their vehicles if they do not pay for parking in the city.
City Hall has notified its parking meter partner of the immediate suspension and all parking meter personnel have been pulled off of the streets.
The three-month suspension is expected to be used to facilitate further consultations on implementation of the project. In light of this, Ferreira questioned whether government is prepared to take the lead role in these negotiations and consultations which citizens have been calling for.
While there are calls for a full revocation of the contract, many citizens want to see the rates lowered and the by-laws amended following consultations.
Councillor Ferreira told News Source that working on the City Council has been “challenging and rewarding”.
He said that it takes time to understand the systems by which the city operates, and that he is not sure if there is enough understanding that when party politics is removed from the local government system, much more could be achieved for the good of the Guyanese people.