Just two days after Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan suspended the bylaws for paid parking in Georgetown on the instructions of Cabinet, the Government is expressing full confidence in its legal advice and the legality of the Minister’s action.
Minister Bulkan’s action came after legal advice was obtained from Attorney General Basil Williams.
In the face of queries as to the legality of the decision, State Minister Joseph Harmon defended the Cabinet’s move although he could not say which part of the Guyana Constitution empowers the Minister to suspend the by-laws. He said the Attorney General should explain that.
Legal Analysts have pointed out to News Source that the Municipal and District Councils Act quoted by the Minister of Communities in his suspension order, gives the Minister the authority to suspend or dissolve the Council but there is no mention of suspension of by-laws.
Harmon was asked to identify where in law the Minister has the authority to suspend the bylaws but instead he would only say that he was satisfied that the law provides for the suspension of the bylaws.
“I am satisfied that the Minister acted within the provision of the law,” he said.
The action was taken last Tuesday following Cabinet meeting and the Town Clerk was also asked to notify Smart City Solutions of Government’s action.
The suspension will be in place for the next three months, allowing for fresh negotiations to take place with all stakeholders.
Many citizens protested the implementation of paid parking, saying it was not in their best interest.
When asked about the government’s next move if there is no positive outcome following the suspension, Mr. Harmon said he has confidence in the new rounds of negotiations.
He asked all stakeholders to give support to the process of negotiation and insisted that government has not taken a position but expects that good sense will prevail.
The Georgetown Mayor and City Council had failed to act on a previous Order following legal opinion obtained by Town clerk Royston King.
Since the suspension of the by-laws, which promoted the suspension of the project in its entirety, there have been calls, including from the office of the Deputy Mayor, for the Town Clerk to resign.