In an extraordinary move, the Government of Guyana has called in the Police Force to protect citizens and their vehicles from being restrained by the Georgetown City Council, in wake of the Council’s decision to continue with the implementation of the parking meter project against the wishes of the Cabinet.
In a statement this evening, the Ministry of the Presidency announced that Cabinet, today, “deliberated on the actions taken by the Georgetown City Council (GCC) subsequent to its decision to have the Parking Meter Project suspended for three months to allow for the review of the agreement and was disappointed with the lack of action taken by the GCC.”
The Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan was directed to formally suspend the operation of the By-laws governing the Parking Meter project with immediate effect.
Additionally, the Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan was also instructed to “advise the Commissioner of Police to ensure that as of Wednesday, March 22, 2017 citizens and their vehicles would receive the protection of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) to prevent them and/or their vehicles from being unduly hindered or restrained in any way, whatsoever, by the GCC and/or its agents.”
The government’s tough position on the issue came on the same day that the Georgetown City Council and its parking partner, Smart City Solutions, restarted the clamping of vehicles that were in the parking meter areas without paying for parking.
Yesterday, the Georgetown City Council voted to take more time and study legal advice provided to it by its Attorney. But the City Council’s Attorney is a partner in the same law firm that represents the interest of Smart City Solutions.
On Friday, the Minister of Communities moved to suspend the by-laws after the City Council failed to take the government’s advice to put the contract on hold for three months.
The introduction of the project has received widespread criticism from citizens of the city and blossomed the formation of a Movement Against Parking Meters, which held weekly protests against the implementation of the system, pointing to the lack of consultation and transparency in the project and contract.