No intention to deliberately debar contractors – Public Works PS

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One day after he appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and revealed that he has ceased all contracts with Courtney Benn Contracting Services, Permanent Secretary (PS) of the Ministry of Public Works, Vladim Persaud has clarified that he has no intention to deliberately debar any contractor unless it is done through the right legal process.

Persaud told the PAC on Wednesday that the ministry took a position not to award contracts to contractors who have a large amount of outstanding work and large sums of outstanding money for the State.

He said this by no means should be seen as debarment, explaining that such restriction can only be done through the process laid out in the Public Procurement Act.

“When entities and contractors are bidding and they have been delinquent in the past, they have to indicate in their bidding document about past performance … those who are delinquent will most likely suffer and that has to be taken into consideration upon evaluation,” Persaud told the News Room via telephone on Thursday.

Persaud said under the law, all persons are allowed to bid for contracts unless debarred by the National Tender Board.

“I don’t want it to be taken out of context that the Permanent Secretary is deliberating trying to stop persons work. No, that’s not the intent,” he added.

Persaud further explained that the standard bidding document and the evaluation criteria are explicitly clear on past performance of contractors.  Persaud said what the PAC was informed about on Wednesday is just one of several large projects that the engineering firm has outstanding.

He said several large projects are incomplete to the extent that termination letters had to be issued.   Also on Wednesday, the State filed a lawsuit against Courtney Benn Contracting Services and its insurance provider, Caricom General Insurance Company, for breach of contract with regards to the re-construction of the St. Roses High School.

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