Following numerous complaints from contractors, the Prime Minister’s Representative for Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), Harrynarine Deokinanan, has called for sweeping changes to the procurement process in the region.
As reported by Kaieteur News, an office set up by Regional Executive Officer (REO) for Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), Denis Jaikaran, is said to be selecting which bids get evaluated at the regional tender board.
Millions of dollars is said to be lost to the current regional system because it lacks the necessary checks and balances to safeguard the process.
Deokinanan is a member of the regional tender board and indicated that several contractors have complained that the process is unfair.
“As it stands now, the procurement system is riddled with corruption. I know this because of the information I have received as the Prime Minister’s representative,” Deokinanan explained.
According to contractors, they are being asked to submit their bids in the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCS) through a Local Government Office set up by Jaikarran.
“Over 15 contractors have complained to my office of being sidelined. Several of the contractors have entered tenders by submitting them through the regional office and not to in a closed box. These bids are then taken up to tender board for consideration. This should not be and makes the system very unfair,” Deokinanan told Kaieteur News.
The tender board meets on Thursdays and comprises Jaikaran as chairperson, Deokinanan, Leroy Levans, Nazeer Ahmad and P. Nelson.
Deokinanan explained that all contracts should be advertised at the NDC offices through the region. He stated that all tenders should be placed in a sealed box and a receipt from the local government office should be given to every contractor who submits a bid.
He stated that the tender box should be opened at the tender board meeting and all members of the board must sign all the tenders being evaluated. Deokinanan also noted that there is need for changes at the evaluation committee.
“If we can adhere to these recommendations, we will have a better procurement system in Region 3. One that can stand up to scrutiny,” Deokinanan noted.
Under the current system, the bids for projects in the NDCs are received by hand through the office, which has been set up by Jaikarran. In the case of the capital works, the bids placed in the tender box are opened in the presence of the bidders and tender board members.
In the case of the NDCs, the bids are taken to the tender board for evaluation and decision.
Reports indicate that in one such instance in June when the board evaluated bids for the supply and delivery of 75 tons of first grade crusher run in Wakenaam.
According to information, the board evaluated three bids, namely MVR Construction for $1.837M; A.J Persaud Construction $1.875M; and R.P. Construction $1.837M. The board awarded the bid to MVR Construction.
Kaieteur News was told that there were three additional bids submitted to Jaikarran’s Office, which were not evaluated by the tender board. All of these bids were lower than the one awarded.
These were from Farouk Azad, $1.7M; K. Kusial General Contractor, $1.4M and Forever Construction, $1.4M.
When contacted about the information, Jaikarran said he was not aware that such practices occurred. When told that a contractor had visited the office to complain, the REO stated that any complaint must be made in writing.
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