Parking meter burden…says it will continue business as usualDespite a missive from Government to put a hold on the parking meter project in the city, Smart City Solutions (SCS) has maintained that it would continue upholding its part of the legal agreement with the Mayor and City Council (M&CC), since it has not received any word from its partner in business.The entity was responding to reports in the media which stated that Cabinet had recommended the suspension of the controversial contract.“Smart City Solutions confirms that it has received neither instruction nor any official word in respect to taking any action to suspend the GeoPark project from the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown, which is the counterparty to Smart City Solutions in respect of the Georgetown Metered Parking Project contract,” the SCS said in a statement to the press on Wednesday.It noted that it would continue to operate and enforce the GeoPark project in accordance with its obligations under the Georgetown Metered Parking Project contract.Georgetown Mayor Patricia Chase GreenComing out of a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Government that evening recommended that the contract be suspended. There are also expectations that further consultations and a full review of the system and contract would be requested.Despite calls from large sections of society, Government has consistently said that it could not interfere as City Hall was autonomous – although that position changed in January when Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman said that the State would intervene only if necessary.And even though amendments were made by Smart City Solutions, a visibly large proportion of the populace has rejected all but the scrapping of the contract.Just two weeks after the introduction of parking meters in Guyana, citizens had gathered to protest the move. The crowd had consisted of business owners, workers, members of civil society and parliamentarians.The Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM), a lobby group, was instrumental in organising the protests. The protests also came after Georgetown Deputy Mayor Sherod Duncan, who has been vociferous in his opposition to the project, staged a one-man protest outside Bishops’ High School, where a parking meter had been installed.The protesters had listed several concerns with the project. Feasibility, transparency and the cost for parking were some of the foremost concerns about the City Council’s new method of taxation.Meanwhile, the MAPM on Wednesday said it was very heartened by the recent recommendation of Government to suspend the parking meter contract. It said while it believed this was a good first step, it would continue its public call to revoke the contract and by-laws in their current forms.“MAPM would like to reiterate its position that we are not against a structured system for traffic regulation within 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 this project is an imposition on the Guyanese people and did not benefit from a feasibility and social impact study and has breached Guyana’s procurement regulations.”The MAPM said too that the by-laws which Government signed into law were oppressive and infringed on the constitutional rights of every Guyanese and sought to usurp the work of the Guyana Police Force.“For these reasons, the MAPM will continue to reject this project in its entirety and will not accept any action less than a full revocation of the contract and the by-laws,” the group said.Since the MAPM started its organised protests, several political parties which form part of the coalition Government have since come out and condemned the project.This was done despite the very parties refusing to support the parliamentary Opposition when it brought a motion to debate the contentious project in the National Assembly.