Public rage in Georgetown continues to grow and expand as last Thursday’s massive demonstration shows, even as the Government has finally been forced to intervene in the parking meter fiasco. But it is too little too late. Boat gone a’ fall. The demand is now for the rescinding of the flawed agreement between the City Council and SCS.

The Government faltered when it allowed the City Council to proceed with the parking meter secret project, with charges that were outrageously high – 37 percent of the average monthly salary in Guyana as compared with a high of 13 percent of the monthly salary in the US. After the meeting between the Government and the City Council, the Government did not call for the release of the secret agreement. That is a telling omission.

The excuse by the Government that it did not want to intervene in City Council business is just plain balls. How come APNU+AFC members voted to a man and woman, with the honourable exception of Sherod Duncan, to support the secret agreement with such obviously burdensome charges? The Government might have taken a hands-off position, but political clearance at a high level had to have been given.

The courageous citizens who have taken up this issue on our behalf, acting under the banner of Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM), must be congratulated. I am sure that most of the two thousand or so people (five thousand next Thursday?) present at the picket outside City Hall on Thursday last have never been on a picket line. The large numbers, wide range of classes (since class composition has become an issue with both the PPP’s Rohee and APNU’s Chase-Green), broad political opinion and the colourful ethnic mix, suggest wide popular support for MAPM and its demands.

Everyone on the picket line is opposed to the now tainted secret agreement. Everyone on the picket line is supporting MAPM in principle and accepts its leadership, including me. MAPM is opposed to the “parking meter project in its current form,” but not to paying a fee for parking as set out in its pamphlet referred to below. So am I. Half the current charges are still unaffordable.

In a pamphlet distributed at the event, MAPM says that it “is a group of citizens from diverse backgrounds with no political affiliation united against the parking meter project in its current form.” Its objectives are to secure a rescinding of the agreement between the City Council and SCS, a transparent process of a feasibility study, a social impact assessment, a cost benefit analysis and adherence to tendering procedures, all of which should involve stakeholders. The City must undertake to award a new contract that provides for a reduced parking fee that is affordable to all taking into consideration Guyana’s income brackets, special exemptions for certain categories of persons, specifically residents, businesses, employees and others. In answer to the City Council’s argument that the parking meters introduce modernization, MAPM declares its support for modernization, parking meters, structured parking and progress in every form but argues that secret agreements, lack of transparency and no consultations are not modernization.

Quoting the review by the Ministry of Finance of July 23, MAPM points out that the conclusion was that the price was outlandish, no feasibility study was done, the deal is of an exploitative nature, the contract will have an indirect impact on business growth, Government procurement requirements may have been violated, the fees appear to be arbitrary and no damages are highlighted against the contractor for violations. This is the Government’s conclusion but it inexplicably stayed silent in the face of a arrogantly unresponsive City Council.

I believe that the imminent reduction in the parking fee after the discussions between the City Council and the Government is no longer a feasible proposition. SCS and the City Council are invested too heavily to give a reduction to a sum that will be affordable. In any event, stakeholders, if consulted, cannot in good conscience engage with the City Council on an agreement that they have not seen. They must demand its publication. Public opinion must make the City Council understand that this is 2017, not 1817.

MAPM will need to keep its powder dry. Dislodging an implacable City Council from this noxious, secret, deal, which was conceived with stealth, prepared and signed in secret and unleashed on an unsuspecting public through the back door, will be a monumental task. It must plan for the next level – peaceful, silent, civil resistance. Just Park. Don’t Pay!

After all Guyana has gone through, we are now faced in this day and age with a secret deal, signed with secretive foreigners, whose CVs where published are of the basic basics, whose company or companies have little or no track record, whose history and antecedents the Guyanese people are unaware of, who are not visible. Mayor Chase-Green has given the green light to install green machines to take out greenbacks, of roughly US$6,000,000 (Guyana $1.2 billion) annually, leaving behind nothing of value, only empty streets, a damaged city economy, people out of jobs and a bitter taste.  This is eye pass and can happen nowhere else.

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  1. The government cannot claim ignorance here they were active participants in this fraud being perpetuated on the people of Guyana.

    This makes the Bai Shan Lin deal look like a joke.

    This government reviewed the deal several times, the President himself met with Cush who is a known felon that went to jail in the United States. This in itself raises a litany of other concerns.

  2. Mighty Jane Doe

    No man can match her
    To her man is just a cur
    Take her place for a day
    You bound to say nay

    Woman has a tower
    Of sheer brute power
    Man to her is feeble
    He is just a weevil

    Man has not the gall
    To out his eyebrow all
    He can’t go the test
    To alter his breast

    Woman is no knave
    She has the will to shave
    Her body as it smarts
    Even her body parts

    She can remove all
    Her ovaries so vital
    She can do things to us
    And to her critical uterus

    Without a mere flinch
    She colours in a cinch
    With red colouring
    And go shopping

    She hates her feet
    She tries to defeat
    With 3-inch heels
    The way she feels

    She saturate her pores
    She thinks its the cures
    With sweet smells
    But it surely tells

    A jeptic in the morning
    About any complaining
    Like bad food in mud
    Or even when it’s good

    Nagging is her middle-name
    Later she is not the same
    She sags as she jogs
    Maybe she’s on grogs

    Mighty Jane Doe
    Always on the go
    In the house and kitchen
    With the kids and men

    Doing the laundry
    And all so sundry
    Hubby by the TV
    Watching hockey

    She is strong
    Her hours are long
    After all is asleep
    She snores deep

    Some say this creature
    Is a freak of nature
    That she’s not human
    She’s above any man

    But behind every Jane Doe
    A John Doe will follow
    If we leave we have a problem
    For we can’t live without them

  3. I am always amazed at the spirit of solidarity shared by my fellow Guyanese. Indeed, we all know when it is time to unite and fight the dictators. It reminded me of a very famous slogan that was banded around in the mid-seventies and it was “Peoples Power, No Dictator”. Kudos! To the members and followers of the “Movement Against Parking Meters”. I applaud you; you must continue to stand up against the Mayor and City Council (M&CC). They have betrayed the residents of Georgetown, the mercantile community as well as the citizens of my country. They are bullies, must not be tolerated and the parking meter fiasco must take its rightful place in the archives of yet another failed project, I live in a small city (in Ontario, Canada) of 50,000 residents. We pay C$1 to park for one hour; 25 cents for 15 minutes but the parking meter takes 10, 25 and CS1 coins. Parking is free from 5 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. There is no charge for weekends and public holidays. There is also one hour roadside parking and that is within the busy shopping area. While I no longer live at home (Guyana), I do believe that G$20 for an hour of roadside parking is reasonable and I do not think that it will initiate that degree of resistance. Business owners ought to be given a few free parking spaces in front their site of operation. Down town Georgetown is overcrowded, and one wonders why an urban planner expertise cannot be used to reduce gridlock. Can Regent Street not be converted to a one way i.e. permit vehicular traffic to travel from east to west? The city needs to look at other revenue sources such as purchasing Bank of Guyana saving bonds, shares in DDL, Banks DIH, renting space in their offices etc. Incidentally, just look at the general post office building and be a copycat for immense monetary gains. It is clear that the parking meter project was poorly conceived and consequently myopic in its implementation. It was doomed to fail from the beginning and certainly, it met the expectations of many, including myself. The members and followers of “Movement Against Parking Meters”.must continue to tighten the noose against the M&CC and victory will be yours.

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