The recently established, five-member Public Procurement Commission (PPC) has elected Carol Corbin as its Chairman and the government will now be relieved of the task of giving its no-objection before contracts are awarded.
The PPC yesterday met with the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) as they finalised administrative arrangements to become operational and Corbin, a Project Management Professional was chosen as Chairman while former Labour Minister Nanda Kishore Gopaul was selected as Vice Chairman.
The other members are Emily Dodson, Sukrishnalall Pasha and Ivor English.
Now that the Chairperson has been selected, the PAC Chairman will formally notify the National Assembly.
The establishment of the PPC will now clear the way for the award of contracts to be handled by that body instead of the Cabinet.
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.
Chairman of the PAC, Irfaan Ali, told Stabroek News that the commission yesterday also agreed to the terms of reference and will be working towards recruiting staff for the body.
“The terms of reference has been agreed. The PPC has selected their Chair and Vice Chair and they are in the process of fulfilling their constitutional responsibility, which is set up of the organizational chart and the publishing of the advertisements so that it could recommend the persons to fill the CEO position, two other senior positions and any position they see fit within the organizational structure that they will develop for the functioning of the commission,” Ali said.
He pointed out that with the PPC now established, not only will Cabinet’s role in contracts be taken away but that the Bid Protest Committee will also be dissolved since it was an interim body pending the PPC.
“The Procurement Commission as it is has become operationalized. Once the PPC comes into operation that Bid Protest Committee no longer has any jurisdiction because the PPC is operationalized. So that power is vested in the PPC. Of course too there is no more no-objection role of Cabinet. Cabinet has no role”, Ali said.
However, he noted that a Public Procurement Commission Tribunal still has to be established, where if bidders are not satisfied with a contract award and a review by the PPC they can then take it to a higher adjudicatory body.
“That comes after the Secretariat of the Commission and so on has been set up…so that is it for now,” he said.
The five members of the PPC last week took the oath of office, at a ceremony held at the Ministry of the Presidency.
At the swearing in, President David Granger urged the PPC members to uphold the tenets of the constitution that require them to be independent, impartial and fair in the execution of their duties.
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 was 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.