By Stacy Carmichael-James
Executive member and former Cabinet Secretary under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic administration, Dr. Roger Luncheon today lashed out at the APNU+AFC Coalition Government for grossly undermining the Public Procurement process through sole sourcing.
Dr. Luncheon told the media that the public procurement process matured under the PPP administration, particularly from 2001 to 2011, noting that statutes and constitutional provisions were put in place making Guyana the envy of the Caribbean and making the system favourable to the donor community.
According to Luncheon, since the Coalition assumed office in May 2015 and more so with the public pronouncement that financiers of the APNU+AFC election campaign would be given political patronage and rewarded for their investment at the expense of the public purse, the door was opened for subversion of the public procurement laws.
The PPP/C is now on the verge of saying that this subversion of the procurement laws and constitutional provisions has been perfected, through the mechanism of sole sourcing, which is an allowable exception under the statutes but one that has circumstances that validate the resort to this option, “definitely not with the frequency with which sole sourcing is used by this administration and what is more the provisions that capture (sole sourcing) are being ignored entirely,” he noted.
The efficiency of public tendering, Dr. Luncheon said is being grossly undermined with Government’s resort to sole sourcing, totally ignoring those provisions, especially prequalification which allows a procurement entity to identify from all of the possible tenderers, those to be considered for sole sourcing.
And once this is not done, according to the PPP/C executive, the end result is what the Opposition has been complaining about, awards that make “absolutely no sense” in terms of effective and efficient spending of public monies.
Elaborating further, PPP Member of Parliament, Juan Edghill called on the Government to state who give the directive for the sole sourcing of pharmaceuticals from ANSA MCAL, questioning if it was Public Health Minister, Volda Lawrence or the Chairman of the GPHC board.
He also called for the immediate removal of Minister Lawrence as the Public Health Minister. Edghill is also calling for the minutes of the meeting where the decision was made to sole source from ANSA MCAL and challenged the Chairman to come forth with the information.
According to him, if this information cannot be produced, then the GPHC board members are “figure-heads” or puppets being controlled by their puppet masters and are therefore unfit for public office and are guilty of raping the public’s purse. He clarified too that the New GPC was not single sourced under the PPP since it was a prequalified company.
The Party stated too, that it will utilise its parliamentary options to raise the issue of sole sourcing. It is contending that the Government is avoiding frequent sittings of the National Assembly in an effort to cover up matters such as these.