The Georgetown City Council used its extraordinary statutory meeting on Monday to vote for more time to be taken to study legal advice offered by its Attorney about the move by the Minister of Communities to suspend the metered parking by-laws.
The meeting was presided over by outgoing Deputy Mayor, Sherod Duncan, who is performing the duties of Mayor.
The Georgetown City Council’s Attorney has advised the Council that the Minister’s suspension of the by-laws ought to be seen as null and void, since in his opinion, the laws governing municipalities, do not allow the Minister to direct the council to suspend any contract or by-laws.
The Attorney for the City Council is a Partner in the same law firm that represents the interest of the parking meter company, Smart City Solutions.
The motion seeking more time to study the Attorney’s opinion was moved by APNU+AFC Councillor, Heston Bostwick and the majority of the Councilors voted yesterday in support of that motion. They voted against a motion moved by Councillor Akeem Peter that would have given a one hour time limit for them to study the legal opinion.
Some Councillors argued that the Attorney’s advice could not have been solicited to deal with action already taken by the Minister.
But although many of the Councilors loudly voiced the view that they would not go against the national government’s advice in the matter, they still voted for more time to be taken to study the advice of the Attorney and not support the Minister’s decision to suspend the by-laws. The Minister’s suspension took effect last Friday.
That decision came after the Council failed to act on cabinet’s advice to suspend the parking meter contract for three months.
Instead of the extraordinary meeting being called to decide whether the contract would be suspended, it focused on the Minister’s decision to suspend the by laws that govern the project, and some Councillors raised worry about that decision.
Legal Analysts have pointed out to News Source that the City Council should have been dealing with the contract and not the by-laws, since the law provides for the Minister to suspend the by-laws.
One legal analyst said if the City Council has concerns about the Minister’s suspension of the by-laws, it should have gone to the Court to challenge his decision, and not an extraordinary statutory meeting of the same Council.
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