November 21st is the new deadline for companies interested in prequalifying for the financing, designing and building of the new Demerara River Bridge.
“We have been asked by a lot of the bidders to extend the closing date for prequal [prequalification] and we have extended the date to the 21st of November, moving it from October 17th 2017,” Project Manager Rawlston Adams told Stabroek News yesterday.
Adams informed that the decision was made yesterday morning and a formal notification will be published.
The Ministry of Public Infrastructure has said that contractors will be prequalified and three will be shortlisted and requested to submit designs and offer a fixed price lump sum bid for the bridge and approach roads.
This has generated some concern, including from former Auditor General Anand Goolsarran who has questioned the legality of the process.
Adams had told Stabroek News on Monday that the process being utilised is nothing new. He also stressed that he wanted the public to understand that submissions would not be restricted to only three companies when the prequalification documents are opened but all companies that believe they meet the specified criteria can submit.
He said that the shortlisting of three companies will come after the evaluation of the general pool. The evaluation process can take up to six weeks and could be further extended in some cases to facilitate due diligence.
Meanwhile, Adams said that while the tender notice stated that by participating in the procedure bidders could not protest against the decision, the law of the country stands and therefore that aspect of the advertisement should be ignored.
He did not explain why the decision was taken to add an unlawful requirement to the advertisement in the first place.
“By participating in this procedure, you accept and acknowledge the aforementioned and waive all rights in connection therewith, including the right to protest against the decision for the shortlist and the selection of the preferred bidder, to claim damages against the employer, its director or any of its affiliates and advisors, and to undertake legal action against the G.O.G with regard to selection procedures, evaluations and final decisions regarding the tender,” the notice had stated.
The Procurement Act enshrines the right of bidders to protest both in the prequalification and actual bidding stage of the contract.
Making reference to the Act, both Adams and Thompson confirmed that persons can protest if they feel they have the grounds to.
“The law is the law is the law. The laws of the country takes precedence to anything stated so if the law says so, then so it is,” Adams said.