No decision yet on final five names for Public Procurement Commission

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There has been no agreement yet on the final five names of persons who will constitute the Public Procurement Commission (PPC), which exercises a major regulatory and oversight role in public procurement and the awarding of contracts.

The functions of the Public Procurement Commission (PPC) include making regulations governing procurement, determining documents for public procurement such as bidding, prequalification, evaluation and contract forms, to review decisions of procuring entities and adjudicating debarment proceedings.

There has been no PPC for the last two years and while both sides have said they are ready to appoint the five-member commission, no decision was reached on Monday for a meeting where the government and opposition will present the final names.

Two names are to come from the opposition and three from the government in a parliamentary process that requires a 2/3 majority for acceptance and appointing the Commission.

At the end of November 2021, the sub-committee, which comprises PAC Chairman Jermain Figueira and Minister of Governance and Parliament Affairs Gail Texiera, had shortlisted eight persons from an initial list of 26.

That came six months after the sub-committee was established and although Minister of Public Works Juan Edghill urged that the work continues in discreet fashion as had obtained, Opposition members led by Ganesh Mahipaul said the process had gone on in private for far too long with no finality.

He even proposed that if a decision could not be reached by the next meeting of the PAC then the eight shortlisted names should be made public.

“That is backroom work, why are we doing this in committee today? I would like to recommend that the sub-committee does its work out of the public’s eye, “a concerned Edghill reasoned much to the disproval of Mahipaul.

“It is kind of baffling and worrisome that the country is calling for the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission and we seem to be lagging in my view… I want to disassociate myself from any attempt to stymie the establishment of PPC,” he said, followed by like sentiments from opposition members David Patterson and Juretha Fernandes.

The government members asserted that they were ready to move the process forward but accused the opposition members of having an attitude of bullyism which was, in turn, creating a toxic atmosphere.

Texiera and Figuera then found themselves having to explain why the five names were not being put forward so it can be voted on by the full House.

“The setting up of sub-committee was to not only to expedite the process but also recognise that this decision requires 2/3 of the House… Figueira and I had a relationship of sharing information on what his side felt and I didn’t not know that his side had a preference for anybody,” Texiera told the meeting.

The Chairman in turn said several attempts were made to contact the Minister but these proved futile. He pressed for a final meeting this week.

“Guyana is willing and ready for the PPC. The opposition is ready and frankly I think the government is pussyfooting around the issue and I urge them to bring it to finality.”

He also shut down Edghill’s call for the deliberations and reaching the final five names be done in discreet fashion but also did not entertain Mahipaul’s suggestions for the eight shortlisted persons to be made public if no decision if forthcoming by next Monday.

The PAC is responsible for recommending the names which will then go to the President who will then administer the Oath of Office.

The Public Procurement Commission was constituted on October 28, 2016, when the first five Commissioners were sworn in by former President David Granger.

That allowed for a significant reduction of the role Cabinet plays in the awarding of contracts.

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