Paid parking to resume on Monday…issues new regulations… JFAP finally sees the light: condemns unjust contractDespite a High Court order on Thursday putting the controversial Parking Meter Project on hold, the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) will be restarting paid parking in the city come Monday with a plethora of new concessions for motorists.This was announced by Mayor Patricia Chase Green at a joint press conference held on Friday by the M&CC and Smart City Solutions (SCS), the company contracted to carry out the project.Mayor Patricia Chase Green and Town Clerk Royston King, along with Director of SCS Amir Oren and Kit Nascimento at a joint press conference on FridayMayor Chase Green, in her statement to reporters, said “As of Monday next, we will resume implementation of the Parking Meter Project.”When questioned about this decision to restart the project in light of the pending court action, the Mayor explained that legal advice was sought on the matter. “My understanding of the matter before the court is one that doesn’t stop us; there’s not an injunction that stops us from operating,” she posited.At that point, Town Clerk Royston King interjected and blocked further questioning on the issue.Court orderOn Thursday, acting Chief Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards handed down a court order calling on the Mayor and City Council, and the Town Clerk, the named respondents, to show cause why the project should not be quashed. The order was granted after an application for judicial review was made by Attorney Kamal Ramkarran, on behalf of Mohendra Arjune.The respondents will have to present their case on February 27, before Justice Brassington Reynolds. Also on that date, a second court action on the Parking Meter Project against the City Council filed by the New Building Society (NBS) will also come up for hearing, where the Town Clerk and Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan were ordered to present arguments on why the Parking Meter Project should not be quashed.Minister Bulkan had signed off on the By-laws to green-light paid parking in the city last month.However, among the orders granted by the Chief Justice on Thursday was the revocation of “the decision of the Mayor and Councillors and anyone acting by or through them or under their directions or instructions or on their behalf to exempt persons or categories of persons from paying fees for parking in the City of Georgetown and being subject to penalties for parking in Georgetown.”PenaltiesIn this regard, when asked whether as of Monday clamping of vehicles will recommence as well, King told reporters “we will resume our operations on Monday and that will include the tools that are available to us for non-compliance of our By-laws.”Further pressed whether those “tools” was were referring to clamping, the Town Clerk responded in the negative, however, Director of Business Development attached to SCS, Amir Oren, said “Yes”.But, Mayor Chase Green immediately interrupted saying, “Don’t let them (media) confuse you Amir!” She went on to point out that there will be immobilisation to give persons permission to pay for the parking space they would have occupied without a parking meter ticket, as oppose to a fine that previously obtained.This is one of the new changes made to the paid parking model, whereby they are moving from a ‘pay for space’ method to ‘pay for plate’, which can be used at more than one parking zone. This will allow for motorists to pay for parking time for their vehicles, as oppose to pay for parking space for a particular amount of time.“This effectively means that motorists will be able to purchase any amount of time for their cars, even if it’s on a discounted basis, and they’ll be able to put those parking tickets within cars and then use that time anywhere within any Meter Parking Zones in the city (until the time on the parking ticket expires),” Oren explained.Fee structureThe other changes include a 50 per cent reduction of meter rates for those parking eight hours or more. This means motorists buying parking time for eight hours or more will pay $25 dollars for 15 minutes plus Value Added Tax (TAX). Meanwhile, the $50 per 15 minutes plus VAT metered parking fee will remain the same and be applied to all motorists parking for periods of 15 minutes to four hours.“The idea really is to cement the market for those persons who would come to town and look for parking on a short-term basis, so that you’re enhancing many of the benefits of mobility and parking space turn-over that you would have with such a structure, but at the same time take into account that you need to make available discounted parking for the working class or those parking for long-term hours in the city,” the SCS official stated.However according to Oren, those motorists purchasing four hours of parking at $50 per 15 minutes plus VAT, which effectively costs the same as eight hours with the 50 per cent reduction as mentioned, will automatically be credited with four more bonus hours of metered parking. This, Oren noted, was done to ensure that the new payment structure makes sense in that motorist buying less time pay more and those buying more time pay less.Furthermore, the SCS Business Director disclosed that a 15 minutes grace period before clamping has also been introduced, as well as one month free from paying the immobilisation fee so that motorists can become familiarised with the new changes. However, vehicles will still be immobilised but instead of paying the immobilisation penalty fee, motorists will be required to pay the parking fees ($50 for every 15 minutes) spent on the Parking Zones.These changes, however, will be enforced until the By-laws are amended. The draft documents are currently being prepared and this process will take some seven to 10 days.According to Mayor Chase Green, these changes were as a result of further talks recently held with various stakeholders. Minister of State Joseph Harmon had disclosed last week that the penalty aspect of metered parking in the city was relaxed to facilitate further consultants after widespread consultations against the project continued.It was noted that these new rates were initially designed for the working class, but given the practice of businesses to secure parking in front of their buildings, a decision was taken to have the concessions be applicable to all motorists.The Parking Meter Project has caused widespread criticism with various stakeholders calling for it to be cancelled. It has also attracted mass protest actions.
Here’s the top transfer-related stories in Wednesday’s newspapers…Arsenal are set to offer £35m to secure the signing of Isco ahead of Chelsea and Liverpool in January. Real Madrid are willing to sell the Spaniard, who has been largely used from the bench this season, and Arsene Wenger is preparing to pounce. (Daily Star)Arsenal are among the clutch of Premier League clubs keeping an eye on Bordeaux midfielder Henri Saivet. Senegal international Saivet, available for £3.5m in January, caught the eye against Liverpool last week when he scored in Bordeaux’s 2-1 Europa League defeat. (Daily Mirror)Manchester United have entered the big-money battle for Borussia Dortmund star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The striker has emerged as one of Europe’s deadliest front-men and the race to try to prise him out of the Bundesliga club is hotting up. Barcelona are also in the hunt for Aubameyang, while he is on the radars of Arsenal and Chelsea. But United boss Louis van Gaal is determined to win the scrap for Aubameyang, who currently has a £42million price-tag, with his side struggling for goals. (Daily Mirror)Manchester City can attract Pep Guardiola to the Etihad with a record pot of gold next summer. Most of the £265million generated on Tuesday by owner Sheikh Mansour selling 13 per cent of the Blues’ parent company, City Football Group, to Chinese bidders will allow the club to offer Guardiola a huge contract and even bigger transfer war-chest. (Daily Mirror)Roberto Mancini will attempt to lure Branislav Ivanovic to Inter by offering him a lucrative TWO-year deal. Chelsea defender Ivanovic’s current contract expires next summer and he can start talking to foreign clubs about a Bosman free transfer from next month. (Daily Mirror)Liverpool have opened discussions with Simon Mignolet over a new contract in further evidence of Jürgen Klopp’s confidence in the goalkeeper. Klopp said he was not looking to sign a No1 despite reports that claimed otherwise. Mignolet, who signed for Liverpool from Sunderland in June 2013 for £9m on a five-year deal, would see his £60,000 a-week salary increased if he agrees a new contract. (Guardian)Alberto Moreno’s agent says the Liverpool defender would welcome interest from Real Madrid in January. The Spaniard was linked with a Bernabeu switch last week as the club seek to solve their left-back crisis. (Daily Star)Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce is ready to fight North East rivals Newcastle for the January signing of Tottenham outcast Andros Townsend. (Daily Mirror)Bournemouth and Middlesbrough are monitoring right-back Matt Lowton’s situation at Burnley ahead of the January transfer window. The 26-year-old joined the Clarets from Aston Villa in the summer for a fee of around £1million but he suffered an injury in pre-season and has figured just once for Sean Dyche’s side. (Daily Mirror)And here’s the latest talkSPORT.com headlines…Arsene Wenger confirms Arsenal came close to landing Bayern Munich starlet Kingsley ComanNacho Monreal rejects rumours of possible return to SpainMauro Icardi ‘open’ to Inter Milan exit as Arsenal plot January bidChelsea threaten to pull plug on Jeremie Boga’s loan deal with RennesLiverpool’s on-loan forward Mario Balotelli dreams of playing for Real Madrid, according to AC Milan team-mateLiverpool target January deal for ‘unsettled’ Fiorentina midfielder Mario SuarezLiverpool report: Reds to offer Mario Balotelli in swap deal to land AC Milan goalkeeper Diego LopezAnder Herrera dismisses reports he is ‘disillusioned’ with life at Manchester UnitedManchester United transfer report: Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben dismisses speculation over future Leicester record signing Andrej Kramaric hoping to leave in January, reveals agent‘He’s going nowhere’ – Mark Hughes insists Stoke will not sell Liverpool-linked Jack ButlandNeymar Sr dampens Man United and Real Madrid transfer talk – ‘I’m sure he will renew with Barcelona’