Draft T&T procurement bill excludes gov’t to gov’t contracts

(Trinidad Express) Joint Consultative Council (JCC) president Afra Raymond said on Monday he was “horrified” that the draft Public Procurement legislation released by the Ministry of Planning last month “specifically excluded” government-to-government arrangements.

Raymond, who was part of a panel at a media conference hosted by the JCC and the Local Content Chamber yesterday at Fitzblackman Drive, Woodbrook, told reporters his group and their affiliates “rejected that”.

“A proper public procurement agreement must have exercised control over all transactions of public money. That means expenditure of public money. What we have going on in the country now is that the biggest projects are being planned in secret up until the sod-turning. There is no opportunity to tender, the tendering process is outsourced and contracts given to foreign contractors, and no opportunity to consult with the people,” he said.

The issue, he said, is transparency.

“You can’t have national development in secrecy. One of the most offensive aspects of government-to-government arrangements is that there is no access to those documents.”
Raymond said the JCC was not opposed to these arrangements.

“It is incumbent of the government, if they feel that those arrangements are different to the detrimental ones before, they can address that, (regarding) local employment, advertisement of jobs—in some of these government-to-government arrangements the workers are from other countries. We need to do better and insist on better.

“We insist that the new public procurement laws must include effective controls in all transaction of these types of arrangements. If you don’t include them what you’re going to have is these processes will be fixed so everything will include government-to-government arrangements,” Raymond said.

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