The members of the long-awaited Public Procurement Commission (PPC) were sworn in yesterday by President David Granger, who urged them to uphold the tenets of the constitution that require them to be independent, impartial and fair in the execution of their duties.
“The Government of Guyana iterates its commitment to the principles of accountability and transparency in the conduct of public business. The establishment of the Commission evinces the importance of ensuring equity and fairness in public procurement. I congratulate you the members the members of the Public Procurement Commission and urge you all to be faithful to the oath you have just sworn. I charge you with upholding the constitutional duty of the Public Procurement Commission in being independent, impartial and fair,” President Granger was quoted by the Ministry of the Presidency as saying in a charge to the members of the PPC.
At a simple ceremony, held at the ministry, Emily Dodson, Carol Corbin, Sukrishnalall Pasha, Ivor English and former Minister of Labour Nanda Kishore Gopaul took the oath of office.
President Granger, according to a ministry statement, noted that the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly was responsible for the selection of the members of the Commission and he asserted that the bi-partisan process was a demonstration that however intractable political differences might seem, political agreement and consensus on matters of national interest should always be sought.
Vice-President and Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan, who was present for the swearing in along with Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and Minister of State Joseph Harmon, was reported as saying that the PPC is a campaign promise of the coalition government. “This is one of our biggest lobbying points to get proper accountability in this country and I am so proud that it has happened in the first half of our term after waiting for more than a decade,” he was quoted as saying in the statement.
The establishment of the PPC will now clear the way for the approval of the award of contracts to be handled by that body instead of the Cabinet and Ramjattan said that this will ensure that there is more transparency and accountability to the Guyanese people. “It will be a big plus for governance in this country and it is of course keeping with the Constitution of Guyana,” he added.
Gopaul, in an invited comment, was quoted as saying that he is happy with the confidence which has been reposed in him and the other members of the Commission by the National Assembly and the government as a whole. He noted that the PPC will work to ensure that its integrity and the interests of the Guyanese people are priority in every decision that is taken. “I would do my utmost to ensure that the integrity is upheld and we are happy that the democratic system has worked… We will work to ensure that the interests of the Guyanese people and the country as a whole, are protected,” he said.
Among the commission’s primary functions is monitoring the performance of procurement bodies for adherence to regulations and efficiency in procuring good and services and the execution of works. It specifically has oversight over the procedures of ministerial, regional and national procurement entities as well as those of project execution units.
Further, the commission is empowered to investigate complaints from suppliers, contractors and public entities and cases of irregularities and mismanagement, with the power to propose remedial action in all instances.