Procurement Commission to be sworn in shortly – President Ali


President Irfaan Ali on Tuesday assured the country that a Public Procurement Commission (PPC) will be sworn in soon.

His comments came one day after Chairman of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Jermaine Figueria asked the government to accept the five names agreed to by the PAC and have the Commission constituted.

In a telephone interview with the News Room on Tuesday, Dr. Ali said he intends to ensure that the PPC is operational so that oversight of billions in government contracts can continue.

“…the Public Procurement Commission will be sworn into office shortly,” Dr, Ali said while noting that the PAC Chairman has a democratic right to make his plea.

But the Head of State reminded that it was the People’s Progressive Party Civic government that facilitated the first PPC.

“We ensured the PPC came into place in the first instance…it was the APNU+AFC who held onto an untenable position when in government that disallowed the PPC from coming into place,” Dr. Ali reminded.

The PAC, which is responsible for approving members of this Commission, as well as requesting background checks on candidates, had been engaged in the process of seeking members since last year before the five names were finally arrived at in January.

Unlike other commissions, the President is not required to consult with the Leader of the Opposition on the appointment of members to the Public Procurement Commission.

In an invited comment on Wednesday, Minister of Governance and Parliamentary Affairs Gail Teixeira told the News Room that the PAC Chairman and other members of the Committee had raised the issue to deflect and distract from the uncovering of corruption under the APNU+AFC.

She said appointing a PPC is not the business of Parliament anymore but rather the business of the President.

“PAC does not set policy for the President nor the Parliament,” Teixeira said.

Five names have already secured the necessary two-thirds majority approval from the Parliament.

The Government nominees for the PPC are attorney-at-Law Pauline Chase, Financial Analyst Joel Bhagwandin, and Rajnarine Singh.

The APNU+AFC coalition had nominated economist Rawle Lucas, and former Chairman of the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB), Berkeley Wickham. Lucas’ name was subsequently withdrawn and replaced with AFC’s Diana Rajkumar.

The life of the last Commission ended in 2019 but its Chairman Carol Corbin was retained until 2020. That Commission was appointed in 2016 by former President David Granger.

The PPC has the vital role of overseeing contract approvals and mediating contractor complaints.

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