Public Procurement Commission to be appointed soon – VP Jagdeo
– says President not required to consult with Opposition Leader on this
The Public Procurement Commission (PPC), which has a vital role to play in overseeing the multimillion-dollar procurement process, will be appointed soon since names have already been identified by the National Assembly.
This is according to Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo during his recent press conference. He explained that President Dr Irfaan Ali is not required to consult with the Opposition Leader on these appointments.
“I think we’re at the stage where now, you can have movement forward. You can expect, very soon, the appointment of the Public Procurement Commission. Because those names were sent from the Parliament on April 13 and only came to the executive after that sitting of Parliament.”
“That’s a few weeks back. Those names. The President is not required to consult with the Leader of the Opposition, once Parliament submits the names,” Jagdeo further explained during the press conference.
The Government nominees for the PPC are Attorney-at-Law Pauline Chase, Financial Analyst Joel Bhagwandin, and Rajnarine Singh, while the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) had nominated Economist Rawle Lucas, and former Chairman of the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB), Berkeley Wickham. Lucas was subsequently withdrawn and replaced with Diana Rajkumar.
Rajkumar is an AFC Executive member and under the APNU/AFC Government, she was the personal assistant to former Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan. Pauline Chase currently serves as President of the Guyana Bar Association (GBA), while Bhagwandin is the former director of the Private Sector Commission (PSC). Up until 2021, Wickham served as the Chairman of NPTAB.
Previously, the PPC had as its members Chairperson Carol Corbin, Ivor English, Nanda Gopaul, Sukrishnalall Pasha and Emily Dodson. While the life of the Commission ended in 2019, Corbin was retained until 2020.
The PPC has the vital role of overseeing contract approvals and mediating contractor complaints. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which is responsible for approving members of this Commission, as well as requesting background checks on candidates, had been engaged in the process of seeking members since last year, before the five names were finally arrived at in January.
Among the PPC’s key functions are, according to the Procurement Act, to “Monitor and review the functioning of all procurement systems to ensure that they are in accordance with law and such policy guidelines as may be determined by the National Assembly; promote awareness of the rules, procedures and special requirements of the procurement process among suppliers, constructors and public bodies; safeguard the national interest in public procurement matters, having due regard to any international obligations; monitor the performance of procurement bodes with respect to adherence to regulations and efficiency in procuring goods and services and execution of works; approve of procedures for public procurement, disseminate rules and procedures for public procurement; and recommend modifications thereto to the public procurement entities.”
The PPC has in the past intervened in contracts when there was a discrepancy with the procurement of the contractor. One of the most famous cases of this was the sole-sourced consultant for the design and feasibility study of the new Demerara River Bridge.
The Procurement Commission conducted a probe into the award of the feasibility study and design contract and had flagged the then Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson for requesting from Cabinet that the $148 million contract be sole-sourced. This subsequently resulted in them calling in the Auditor General.