May 08, 2013 News Comments Off on Public Procurement Commission… Govt. still to submit nominees and résumés – PAC
– résumés of AFC’s nominees outstanding
By Keeran Danny
The issue of submitting names and résumés of nominees for the Public Procurement Commission will once again be discussed at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly next week.
This is according to Carl Greenidge, Chairman of the PAC and A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Member of Parliament.
Greenidge related yesterday that APNU is the only political party in the National Assembly that has submitted names and résumés of its nominees to the PAC, to hasten the pace of the realization of this critical Commission.
He said that Government is yet to submit the names and curriculum vitae of its nominees, while the Alliance For Change (AFC) has submitted the names of its two nominees – Chartered Accountant and Attorney-at-Law Christopher Ram and former Auditor General Anand Goolsarran – but their résumés are outstanding.
Greenidge related that a reminder was sent to Government, in either late February or early March, on this matter. A written response was not provided, but Government’s Chief Whip Gail Teixeira, a member of the PAC, assured that the names would be submitted.
When approached, Teixeira was unable to comment on this issue yesterday since Government was taxed with other pressing issues such as the Budget.
The Public Procurement Commission, a constitutional body born from the Public Procurement legislation was expected to be established last year. Last May, Foreign Affairs Minister, Carolyn
Rodrigues-Birkett had said that the Commission would have been established by the end of June 2012. That did not materialize and other timelines given were not met.
She made that comment in response to an argument raised by APNU Parliamentarian Deborah Backer, that one of the provisions of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union is the establishment of such a commission which has already been enshrined in the Guyana Constitution.
Its establishment would cease Cabinet’s involvement in matters related to procurement. The Procurement Act of Guyana stipulates the role of the Commission.
According to leader of the AFC, Khemraj Ramjattan, the establishment of this Commission has been in discussion for almost 10 years. He said that the People’s Progressive Party Civic “talks so much” but is yet to submit its nominees.
Meanwhile, APNU Member of Parliament, Joseph Harmon, said that the Opposition has been utilizing every opportunity to pressure Government to see the creation of this Commission and others that encourage checks and balances in Guyana.
Harmon said that the Public Procurement Commission is one of several Commissions, such as the Integrity
Commission, that need to come into being. He added that Guyana has qualified individuals to suit the criterion set out in the Constitution.
The United States State Department’s Human Rights Report 2012 highlighted Guyana’s deficiency in not having Integrity and Public Procurement Commissions that would facilitate accountability and transparency.
In response to the report, President Donald Ramotar had said that nobody has the right to lecture Guyana. “I don’t feel we should be lectured upon; I don’t think that anybody has the moral right to lecture upon us.”
He drew reference to the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba, a detainment and interrogation facility of the US military, which recently saw several prisoners going on a hunger strike to protest abuse.
In December 2009, when Ramotar wore the cap as General Secretary to PPP/C alone, he was upset that the Public Procurement Commission was not established.
Ramotar had said that the motive behind that body and the Tender Board process was all meant to weed out corruption and get value for money as it relates to spending taxpayers’ money.
While conceding that the government has an open policy toward tenders and contracts that are public in that anyone could access them, there are cases where there is subversion of the process, “but this has to be rooted out.”
“If some of that (prevention measures) is being subverted, we have to deal with that… the PPP will try
to establish systems to ensure that we minimise corruption,” he added.
Ironically, Ramotar is now the Head of State for over one year, but his Government is still to put forward names for the Public Procurement Commission.
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