Tender process cancelled, Dutch firm sole-sourced for new Harbour Bridge – Min. Patterson

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Amid calls for an urgent investigation, Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson has admitted that the tender process was annulled and a Dutch firm was sole-sourced for the feasibility study and design of the new Demerara River Crossing.

Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira on Thursday wrote the Public Procurement Commission (PPC) – the authority that monitors and reviews all procurement systems – for an investigation to be launched into the matter given that none of the 22 companies which submitted tenders for the project were awarded the contract.

Patterson, in a social media post, clarified that the firm LievenseCSO was sole-sourced because the bids submitted by shortlisted companies were out of the ministry’s budget for the project.

He explained that the Ministry received US$800,000 in funding from the Inter-American Development Bank and the Ministry advertised the consultancy for feasibility study and design for the new bridge.

“Twenty-two firms expressed their interest and 12 of these firms were subsequently shortlisted. However, only two submitted bids. Of the two submissions, only one firm had a valid bid. However, the firm’s bid price exceeded the US$800,000 budget. Additionally, concerns were also raised on the technical level,” he explained.

Patterson said the Ministry subsequently made the decision to annul the process in May, following permission from the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) and the Ministry of Finance. He said the Ministry continued to seek suitable consultants due to the significance of the project and sought greatly qualified consultants worldwide.

Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson

Patterson said it was during engagements with various companies, including those in the Netherlands, the Dutch Risk Reduction (DRR) Team, and in England, the company, LievenseCSO, was recommended.

“A bid was later received from LievenseCSO and MPI (Ministry) applied to NPTAB for permission to engage the company; this permission was granted. Upon evaluation of the bid, it was determined that it was the best out of all that had been submitted, both on the technical level and in relation to price,” he explained.

The Minister said Cabinet was invited to consider the proposal and subsequently gave its No Objection to the award of the contract and the progression of the project.

Interestingly, the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) campaigned heavily against the former administration’s incessant use of sole-sourcing for various projects and had promised to put an end to the practice.

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