…return inevitable…citizenry being forced to accept illegal 40-year contract – PPP CouncillorThe Mayor and City Council of the City of Georgetown, on Wednesday at an Extraordinary Statutory Meeting, voted to adopt the amended By-laws for the controversial parking meter project, hence signalling its return despite strongCouncillors at the Extraordinary Statutory Meeting on Wednesdayobjections from some Councillors.Prior to the vote, Councillors were afforded the opportunity to debate the proposed amendments to the By-laws. However, Mayor Patricia Chase Green restricted them from discussing, among other things, the contract and concessionaire.“We would have dealt with the contract on many occasions and we would have agreed that the contract that we have is binding and we will move forward. We are at a stage where we had negotiations with the relevant partner where we would have agreed also how we do adjustments…that was brought to the Council, that was agreed upon we are at the last stage of the parking meter entire project which is the 2018 By-laws,” Chase Green said.However, the Mayor’s statements did not go down too well with People’s Progressive Party Councillor, Bishram Kuppen, who argued that the by-laws are linked to the contract with Smart City Solutions. He noted that the council is attempting to move forward with a contract whose legality is still in questioned and advised that it should not be proceeded with.“The fact of the matter is that we are attempting to pass or approve bylaws for a contract that is yet not being proven to have come about in a legal manner…there were statements made at this council that this was approved at a previous council but there has been no evidence produced so far. The fact of the matter is due diligence was being conducted after the fact when in fact it should be done before that contract,” Kuppen argued.“I don’t see how we are moving forward with this particular contract or discussions because once it is approved today (Wednesday) then it will be forwarded to the Minister and maybe they will gazette the By-laws to make it legal for that parking meter project to come back in play,” he added.Kuppen told all the Councillors present that if they support the amended By-laws then in essence they are forcing the citizenry of Georgetown to accept an illegal 40-year contract.Additionally, Councillor Malcolm Ferreira called for the decision to be put on hold until all court issues regarding the controversial project is addressed.“We need to exercise caution and allow the court to rule so as to offer legal guidance as well as endorsements of whatever decision we would then decide on… we should not rush into any decisions and more so decisions that have proven to be unpopular…,” he argued.“If we truly care about this city and citizens we should not rush into rubber stamp any new By-laws without giving any thought to all possible outcomes… I beseech thy, I implore, plead with, appeal to, I obsecrate yuh, I beg yuh…it is my humble view that we should let the court make its ruling before we decide,” Ferreira said.Expressing his unwavering support for the project was Councillor Heston Bostwick, who called for its speedy implementation.Following all the debate, People’s National Congress Councillors Akeem Peter, Winston Harding, Yvonne Ferguson, Welton Clarke, Oscar Clarke, Noelle Chow-Chee, Heston Bostwick, James Samuels, Trichria Richards, Lyndon Hilliman, Ivelaw Henry and Mayor Chase Green along with Team Benschop’s Jameel Rasul voted to adopt the By-laws. While, Councillors Kuppen and Sharma voted no and Ferreira and PNC Carlyle Goring abstaining.Staying awayMeanwhile, former Deputy Mayors Lionel Jaikaran and Sherod Duncan – both of the Alliance For Change (AFC) refused to participate in the process by staying away. Taking to social media, following the vote, Duncan posted a photo of a ripped-up copy of the By-laws accusing the Administration of stifling those who oppose the project.Now that the amended By-laws are approved, the Administration will have to display them for a minimum of 14 days in public spaces and during that time persons could write to City Hall expressing their concerns. Following that 14-day public display, the adopted By-laws will be forwarded to Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan for his approval and if given will be then gazette.Under the new agreement, persons will be paying $150 per hour and $800 for eight hours of parking in the city. Meanwhile, residents of the city would be issued with a restricted residential pass for free parking from 17:00h-19:00h Monday to Friday while parking will be free on Saturdays.