Gov’t abandoning of waste recycling MoU a good sign

-Transparency group

Transparency Institute Guyana (TIGI) has welcomed the government’s decision to cancel the MoU for the construction of a solid waste recycling plant saying that it may be an indication that the administration sees the value of involvement by other interest groups when making decisions that affect citizens.

“It is refreshing to learn that the Government has accepted perhaps for the first time that it has erred in its decision on the matter,” TIGI said in a press release on Monday. The group considers this a “good sign” considering that there were several projects that the government had embarked upon that were subject to justifiable criticism not only from the media but the political opposition, independent analysts and civil society organisations.

The media had publicised a litany of concerns about the MoU signed with Natural Globe Inc for the project, including the absence of competitive bidding procedures through public advertisement; the non-involvement of the National Procure-ment and Tender Admi-nistration Board; the lack of experience of the company to undertake the task and the dubious background of the company; inadequate due diligence carried out and the controversy surrounding the funds to be invested in the project.

TIGI sees the cancellation as an “indication that the government is acknowledging that it no longer considers itself to have possessed all the reservoir of knowledge to make decisions that affect the citizens of the country.” The group also pointed out that it is in the government’s interest to identify the circumstances that led Cabinet to approve the MoU with Natural Globe Inc, with a view to avoiding a recurrence.

This episode also highlights the need for involvement of various interest groups before important decisions are made. It also draws attention to the deficiencies of current processes in relation to procurement and reinforces the need for operationalising of the constitutionally-mandated Public Procurement Commission. TIGI urges the government to continue in this vein since “decision-making based on the widest possible degree of consultation is, and should always remain, an essential ingredient of our democratic culture.”