Feb 12, 2017 kaieteur
The parking meter contract has been kept from the public eye since it was announced that the Mayor and City Council of Georgetown signed the agreement with Smart City Solutions (SCS). However, as they say, what is in the dark must come to light.
Kaieteur News got hold of the original contract yesterday and after perusal, it was realised that the company can extend the duration of the 49-year agreement for an additional 49 years under the same terms of the current agreement subject to the approval of the City. This means that the company was given the option to operate in Guyana for almost one century.
Another glaring provision in the contract relates to its termination. In the event that both parties wish to terminate the contract, this can be done via a written consent. However, if City Hall wishes to unilaterally terminate the contract without the written consent of the company, the City shall pay SCS a lump sum payment equivalent to the total direct and indirect, hard and soft cost cumulative gross investment of the company in the project.
However, it does not end there. This lump sum is to be added to an amount equal to 25 per cent of the total direct and indirect, hard and soft cost cumulative gross investment of the company in the project. When the value of the 25 per cent is calculated, it is to be further multiplied by the number of years remaining under the agreement.
Further, the Council would have to pay the reasonable out-of-pocket and documented costs and expenses incurred by the company as a direct result of such termination, cancellation, rescinding or voiding.
Moreover, the M&CC has been barred by the agreement to terminate the contract for its own convenience.
Equally worrying is the fact that the onus is on the M&CC to facilitate tax exemptions to be awarded to the company.
According to the contract, “The City Hall shall support and facilitate any application or process the concessionaire (SCS) may pursue to secure exemption from income, corporation, VAT (value added tax), capital gains and all other levies, taxes, duties, cesses or other imposition of similar nature in respect of the importation, use and operation of any equipment and materials, including but not limited to, any unit or part of the Metered Parking System imported by the concessionaire for purposes of initialisation and on-going operation of the project.”
The company has been afforded a number of sole and absolute discretions also. These include SCS having the power to establish distinct and multiple geographic Parking Zones within the territory of the City which shall be subject to distinct Metered Parking Fees and Parking Fines.
This process however, must be accompanied by the company demonstrating the basis and justification for the distinctions within any relevant study to be provided to the City Council.
Further, the company can begin charging for parking beyond 19:00hrs. This can be done in places classified as “nocturnal areas” which are typically frequented during evening hours.
The aforementioned are just some of the conditions which the M&CC have bound Guyana. The contract was signed by Mayor Patricia Chase-Green, Town Clerk Royston King, and Councillor Junior Garrett on behalf of the council. Signatories for the company are Chairman and Director of SCS Simon Moshesvilli and Director Ifagbamila Kamau Cush.
The parking meter project has been filled with controversy due to how the representatives from the council dealt with the company in terms of ensuring due diligence was done and stakeholders consulted.
Recently, there has been public resentment of how the project is being implemented; particularly as it relates to the penalties enforced on persons failing to pay for parking and the prices being demanded. However, these enforcements have been relaxed following a meeting with representatives of the council and President David Granger.