The Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM) yesterday flayed the city over its decision to resume negotiations with SCS over parking meters. It also insisted that the contract be revoked and said it is prepared to resume its protests against the deal.
A statement from MAPM follows:
The Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM) is concerned that certain officials at the Mayor and City Council of Georgetown continue in their efforts to foist what can only be described as a corrupt contract on the Guyanese citizenry.
The MAPM and many other stakeholders including members of government and the private sector have made public the numerous deficiencies in the process of selecting and engaging Smart City Solutions as the provider of parking meter services in Georgetown. Concern has been expressed at the onerous terms and condition to be imposed upon the people, the users of the City and outlying areas. The Ministry of Finance’s review; the review by the Attorney General’s Chambers and the Parking Meter Review Committee cannot be ignored. MAPM can only conclude that the thirteen councilors who voted to renegotiate this corrupt contract seem to have little or no understanding or regard of the need for transparency and due process. Further, the statement made by one Councilor that ‘so what if SCS is a sham’ highlights the disregard of the laws and the citizens of this country by our elected officials.
Adding insult to the injurious situation imposed upon the residents and users of Georgetown earlier this year is the news that the M&CC will proceed to form a committee to renegotiate the SCS contract with some of the original architects of the parking meter contract being on the committee either in a decision making or advisory capacity. The question begs as to how the persons responsible for breaking laws and placing the Guyanese citizens in this most tenuous position can now be allowed to be a part of the renegotiation process.
The contract between the City Council and SCS suffers a number of procedural and other deficiencies and may be deemed illegal due to a breaches of various laws such as section 229 of the Municipal and District Councils Act, Cap. 28:01 which provides that notice must be given and invitation sought from the general public bids by way of sealed tenders bidding for execution thereof of contracts exceeding $250,000, and to select from among those bids using a fair and transparent process and abiding by fixed and pre-informed guidelines of eligibility by bidders; and to exercise its discretion to contract prudently with sound financial principles under section 231, accepting the most advantageous of the bids received having regard to the circumstances, and requiring if reasonable that the contractor provide a security for the due performance of the contract awarded to him.
In addition, several councilors are on record refuting statements made by the Mayor and Town Clerk that prior approval was given for the execution of the Contract by majority decision of the Councilors as is required by section 56 of the Act. The Mayor and Town Clerk is yet to produce evidence showing the authorization.
Further, no evaluation of Smart City Solutions was undertaken by the M&CC before that entity was selected to undertake the Contract, and no assessment was made of its prior experience, asset base and required competencies to undertake the Contract, as is implicitly required by section 231 of the Act. A review by Chartered Accountant Mr. Lance Atherley points to SCS inflating their investment by as much as fifty percent.
MAPM would like reiterate its position that we are not against a structured system for traffic regulation within the central areas of the city including measures to facilitate the orderly parking of vehicles and the need for the M&CC to increase their revenue base. However, the fact remains that parking meters must be implemented as part of a complete system consisting of other elements such as garage facilities for those requiring parking for more than three hours and a reliable public transportation system. It is ludicrous that the M&CC would allow this project which is an imposition on the Guyanese people to proceed without these elements being in place.
The MAPM will remain resolute in our call for full revocation of the contract and feel strongly that a project of this magnitude must benefit from a comprehensive feasibility and social impact study, a cost benefit analysis and full adherence to Guyana’s procurement laws.
MAPM stands ready to resume our vociferous protests against what we believe to be an attempt on the part of the M&CC to force an unpopular project onto the citizens of Georgetown and indeed all of Guyana.