Granger stands by ministry on controversial specialty hospital MoU

President David Granger say that he sees no “justification or need” to rescind the controversial Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) inked by government with Fedders Lloyd for the specialty hospital project.

His response was given during the recording of “The Public’s Interest” last Friday.

Granger told reporters that the Minister of Finance had previously examined the issue and had made a presentation on the issue.

“We, so far, are prepared to follow the advice of the Minister of Finance on this matter. That is as much as I can say at this point in time,” Granger said, when asked during weekly television programme ‘The Public Interest.’ On November 25, a joint statement from the government and the company announced the deal, which will see the company undertake a review to restart construction of the specialty hospital.

Although the Finance Ministry said Fedders Lloyd’s selection without public tendering was in keeping with the Procurement Act, because the firm was one of the two bidders that were in contention for the original project under the former PPP/C government, the original evaluation report showed that company had been disqualified from the process.

Former Auditor General Anand Goolsarran later called for the agreement to be cancelled and the bidding process restarted.

“Given the charges made by Fedders Lloyd of unfair treatment in the award of the (previous) contract (whether justifiable or not), and the Ministry of Health’s response, it would have been more appropriate for the works to be re-advertised to allay fears of the new administration taking sides in the dispute between the two parties,” Goolsarran wrote in his “Accountability Watch” column, which was published in the November 30 edition of the Stabroek News.

“In any event, there is no provision in the Procurement Act for a terminated contractor to be replaced by the next contractor in line based on the original tender evaluation. The MoU with Fedders Lloyd should therefore be cancelled and the bidding process re-started. Indeed, the Government has the obligation to uphold the principles of transparency in the award of all public contracts in conformity with the Procurement Act. Any lesser arrangement should be frowned upon,” he said.

Government and Fedders Lloyd signed the MoU that will see work resuming on the construction of the hospital, at Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara, using the remainder of a US$18 million line of credit that had been granted by the government of India for the project.

In addition to the absence of public tendering, the deal has come in for scrutiny due to Fedders Lloyd having been represented during the earlier bidding process by now Vice-President and Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan.

President of Transparency Institute of Guyana Inc (TIGI) Calvin Bernard had posited that the circumstances warranted retendering the project and Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo also said it should have been retendered after an independent evaluation of work done so far.

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