Gov’t will only intervene if necessary on the City’s parking meters – Minister Trotman

GINA, GUYANA, Thursday, January 26, 2017

Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman says that the government will not weigh in on the controversial City’s parking meter initiative, unless it feels it is imperative to do so.

Addressing the post-Cabinet press briefing at the Ministry of the Presidency today, Minister Trotman said that the government is not prepared to carelessly impede on the rights of the City to implement revenue collection measures.

Parking-meters-Mayor Patricia Chase-Green inspecting a parking meter in the City

“We (the government) are very aware that the Local Government Elections were recently held. That there was an overall decline if not destruction of the local government systems over the past two decades and that local democracy has to have a level of autonomy if it is to see its way,” the Minister said.

Minister Trotman said that whilst the visual of empty streets says a lot and the people’s voices are not to be ignored, referring to the City Council’s response to the project’s implementation, thus far, he said that that it is still early. “I believe taking a snapshot of one day, two days is not enough to get an overall response,” the minister said. He said for the government to intervene on day one or day two would be highly irresponsible. The Minister said that as time progresses, there are a number of voices that the government would have to hear before weighing in on the matter.

“It is not the government’s intent to reach its hand into local government organs and try to direct them or influence them, at the same time I am saying that we are not unmindful of the fact that this is the capital city and all are affected…and so Central Government will seek to broker compromises in situations where we believe they are imperative. For now we prefer to observe and see how the response unfolds,” the minister said.

The Georgetown City Council’s project to implement parking meters throughout the City streets have met with some public outcry since its conceptualization and publication. The actual implementation of project on Tuesday, January 24, saw many drivers opting to park outside of the parking meter zones in protest of paying the parking tolls. Further, the implementation of parking meters within the vicinity of schools have also resulted in a demonstration by the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU.) the members of the GTU , who held candle light vigil on Main Street. Persons have also expressed concerns about the meter being placed in front the Ptolmey Reid Rehabilitation Centre.