Put procurement legislation into operation
Letters to the Editor
THE EDITOR: While the JCC is heartened by the Attorney General’s meeting with the procurement regulator, we remain deeply concerned and disappointed by the lack of timelines given by the AG for taking his note to Cabinet to facilitate the proclamation of the new legislation.
As stated, the AG only has one final job here, as this is built on the work already done by his predecessors over the last seven years. All else is obfuscation and an excuse for further government procrastination to not implement the much-needed procurement reform in this country.
The Office of Procurement Regulation (OPR) has already substantially completed its mandate to set up an office, develop guidelines, prepare handbooks and establish a world-class website inclusive of a procurement depository for supplier registration and ongoing management.
It defies logic to anyone following this time-longer-than-twine story that the AG got a “detailed brief of the OPR’s remit” at the July 12 meeting. The public is now expected to believe that the AG, who is on record as having had previous consultations with major stakeholders in March, then made (a now) infamous public statement on June 22 invoking ridiculous comments from the Chief Justice, is meeting with the regulator last in the process?
The regulator has absolutely no power to act in the interest of the public in the current scenario to investigate any ongoing or new procurement issue, while the various state agencies continue to squander public funds with sheltered impunity. The citizens of TT have waited long enough for this independent scrutiny of inefficient and corrupt public spending.
The JCC is convinced that this ongoing sleight of hand by the Government is deliberate. The argument proffered that agencies still need to be made ready is disingenuous, distasteful and a hard slap in the face of the tax-paying public.
The procurement legislation needs to be operationalised without further delay. The country will not shut down as some would have people believe. There is a six-month grace period after full proclamation to which the OPR has already committed to working with any agency to make it ready and compliant.
The ordinary man can simply ask the knowledgeable AG if every car in TT had a seatbelt before the seatbelt law was passed. It is ridiculous for anyone to expect all the government agencies to be fully equipped before we operationalise the new procurement law.
Joint Council for the