In light of the ongoing controversy surrounding the Parking Meters Project initiated by City Hall in Georgetown, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is calling for widespread public consultations on how the city addresses its parking woes.This call was made by General Secretary of the PPP Clement Rohee at the Party’s weekly press briefing on Tuesday.Rohee was asked whether the Party would support parking lots in the city as opposed to parking meters, to which he responded saying that no support will be given to any initiative undertaken without public consultation.“We don’t support any of the two so long as there are no consultations with the people,” he said affirmatively.The General Secretary noted that the question of resolving the parking situation in the city requires wide consultations with all stakeholders so that whatever decision is taken is done in the interest of the people who will be affected.“There must be broad and wide consultations with the citizens of Georgetown and the consultations must be public-like town hall meetings. Then they must publish what came out of the consultations so that others who didn’t go should hear,” he remarkedMoreover, the PPP General Secretary outlined that another important factor that needs to be taken into consideration is the collection of revenues from either parking meters or parking lots.“Anything that has to do with the payment of monies… we have know how that is going to be in place also because if a person is going to walk around with a receipt book, we all know what could happen,” he stated.However, Rohee opted not to pronounce on whether his party will support either initiative, noting that he cannot preempt the outcome of the consultations, which he maintained is crucial.Only Monday, during an address to Councillors of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC), President David Granger suggested that the Council consider introducing parking lots in the city to address the congestion.The Head of State did not make any mention during his address to the ongoing controversy surrounding the Parking Meters Project. Over the past weeks, City Hall came has come under fire for signing the contract with National Parking Systems/Smart City Solutions Inc.Many persons, including Councillors, have raised concerns about the lack of transparency in the deal, which they claim appears to be a shady one aimed at exploiting the local populace.In fact, Deputy Mayor Sherod Duncan had stated that he could not find proper information about the company or any records of it providing parking meter services in any other country.However, President Granger told the City Councillors on Monday that his Administration will continue to support the Council in their drive to push the urban development agenda, however it will have to be transparent and accountable in its operations.In light of the parking meter controversy, Cabinet has ordered that the Legal Affairs Ministry and the Attorney General’s Chamber review the contract between City Hall and the Guyanese-owned companies.
The Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) is seeking initiatives to establish tourism hotspots at key locations, to address the large influx of tourists that enter the region on a daily basis.President of the CCI, Halim KhanThis was related by the President of the CCI, Halim Khan, who told this publication on Monday of the list of projects which the committee is processing and will be proposing shortly. The flagship project is the modification of the Vreed-en-Hoop Stelling and advanced facilities for tourists with the inclusion of a souvenir and artisan centre, food courts, and two adjoining boardwalks which will lead to the water-taxi hub.He noted that this project is necessary since the Stelling is the main gateway to visit resorts and other destinations in the Essequibo River and neighbouring places.“Because of the fact that the region is a gateway to the Essequibo and the other islands, we are now proposing to have some initiatives in place to promote tourism. At the Stelling, we will be proposing to have additional features which will boost the Region’s economy. We feel that this location is an ideal place to start, because a lot of people enter through there and then divert to other places, like Bartica and Baganara and so on,” Khan said.He added, “The boardwalk at the northern side will be 12 feet in width, and also (there will be) one on the eastern side from east to west. We will have a platform there also, so that when people enter with the water-taxi, they would not get wet. We want to establish facilities where foreigners can have local fruit drinks and other items, and they can also visit a craft store to buy Guyanese merchandises and souvenirs. A brochure of places that they can go to is also another thing.”He indicated that special attention would be given to the type of transportation that is designated for tourists. This will be done by ensuring that drivers are allocated to specifically transport tourists.“We want to have special taxis and put a tourist booth there with special uniformed taxi (operators). They would be responsible for assisting the tourists with whatever place they want to go. In terms of maintenance, we are looking forward to having the taxis pay a fee every month, which will go into other works and sustaining the facility,” he said.The roadway from Vreed-en-Hoop to Parika is also on the agenda of the Chamber of Commerce. They say that maintenance activities are timely and the construction of hangout spots along the highway.“So the Stelling is currently the flagship project and we want to have other locations along the way to Parika maintained, and other things which can attract people. Some areas were identified. For the recent road that was rehabilitated (that leads to Parika), it is a model road and we hope that it is kept that way. What we want to see is that the sidewalks should remain as it is and bushes should not be growing to take over the road,” he said.Khan notified that he is cognisant that these projects would each bear a hefty cost, and hence the Region is looking to engage public and private stakeholders who share similar interests. The Public Infrastructure Ministry had also indicated that the much-awaited rehabilitation of the stelling will commence shortly. The Committee noted that this will aid in the essential modification of the structure, after which the other features can be constructed.