Hospital contract signed with Surendra, review over – Luncheon
Government yesterday said that the controversial contract to design and equip the specialty hospital at Turkeyen on the East Coast of Demerara has already been signed with Surendra Engineering and the promised review of the award process has been completed.
“We have already executed the contract “said Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon when asked for an update of the review process at his weekly press conference.
Surendra won the contract to build, equip and design the specialty hospital at Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara, over another Indian bidder, Fedders Lloyd. Following the announcement of the award of the contract, Fedders Lloyd charged that the procurement process was improper.
It later wrote to the Ministry of Health highlighting its claims and asking that the award process be reviewed and the contract given to them.
The Ministry of Health then formally responded to Fedders Lloyd’s concerns about the award of the contract, saying it had openly and transparently assessed the “best offer” made to the country. The response was sent to the company a day before Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon announced that the awarding would be reassessed. However, it remains unknown who undertook the review.
Despite questions, the Ministry of Health is still to provide answers on key issues on the contract award, including why a company with major hospital building experience was not chosen.
Fedders Lloyd on hearing of the latest development yesterday responded by saying “We are disappointed hearing this but not surprised.
While we felt that transparency would prevail that has now been erased because we were hoping for at the least a retendering of the contract”, Vice President Naresh Chandra Soral told Stabroek News via telephone from India.
“Who will explain this sequence? On 5th Sept Cabinet Secretary announces review. But on 29th Aug on back date Guyana Government issues Letter of Interest to award the contract to Surendra.
They acknowledge the receipt of protest letter on 6th of September but send the reply dated 4th September? On 15th September Transparency Institute welcome the review decision but today your Government says they have already signed the contract?” he queried.
Further, the Fedder’s Lloyd Vice President said “It seems to us that Surendra Engineering is favoured by the Guyana Government and that the Guyana Government wants nothing to do with ethics, truth, performance, record capability or any sense of justice”, Soral added.
He said that his company would now internally analyze its next move but would not comment further. “We realized that we have been saying a lot and still not getting anywhere.
We will play our cards close to our bosoms but trust me there is a trump in there…where there is truth there will be justice it might not be tomorrow, next week or next year but there will be” he said.
The Presidential Secretariat Head said that the company can petition its government if it is aggrieved however the stipulated timeframe for such actions has already elapsed. “I believe that there is, in the protocol, a period of time after a contract is awarded for a protest to be launched only then can a protest be launched …I believe that time has been elapsed”.
“Any review now will not be a review in the context and under the procurement act legislation, it would be outside.
That doesn’t mean it cannot be done there is nothing to prevent the Indian government, Guyanese government or anybody for that matter to demand, and if they get the opportunity, to have a review done, but as stipulated in the provision, in the act, that time has passed.”
Luncheon when asked about the apparent secrecy of the specifics, of the contract signing, posited that there was none as its signing was publicized in the newspapers. “It was in the news … I read about it in the newspapers”, he said.