Procurement process failing as politicians drag their feet and some are ‘in the pocket’

first_imgDear Editor,Despite the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission (PPC) in 2016, Guyana’s procurement process is still infested with prejudice, inequality, unfairness, discrimination, nepotism and racism and, even worse, there is no proper mechanism to deal with appeals and complaints.Government and Opposition politicians are fully aware of this situation, but for some reason they seem to lack the vision, drive, energy or political will to do whatever is necessary to fix the seriously flawed process and make it fair, transparent and accountable as the nation’s Constitution requires. Partial solutions have not worked and cannot work.I recall that it was public pressure arising from deep suspicion about corrupt practices infecting the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) that caused President David Granger to establish the PPC about two years ago to replace Cabinet’s role in approving state contracts.At the PPC swearing in ceremony, President Granger stressed that the commission’s role is to ensure that the procurement process is fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost effective, according to law, and according to such policy guidelines as may be determined by the National Assembly.But despite this noble intention, it quickly became clear that the PPC was not fulfilling its role and did not have the capacity to do so. This was because of its feeble response to Opposition calls for probes into the contract to Dutch company for a feasibility study on the proposed new Demerara River bridge, as well as the Durban Park Project and the Sussex Street bond.PPC Chairperson Carol Corbin reportedly promised the Opposition to look into those matters, but added that this would be done “within the confines of (the Commission’s) work programme and available resources”. Quite rightly, this position was rejected because the PPC’s work programme and lack of resources cannot stand in the way of its obligation to investigate such complaints promptly and effectively.I recall that, in July 2017, Opposition MP and former Attorney General (AG) Anil Nandlall called for the setting up of an Appellate Tribunal as prescribed by the supreme law of the land, the Constitution.He pointed out that the Constitution stipulates that Parliament may, by law, provide for the establishment of a PPC Tribunal to hear appeals against PPC decisions, and beyond that, appeals against the Tribunal’s decisions can be heard by the Guyana Court of Appeal.I also recall when the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) said it would be assisting Guyana to set up a special mechanism to fast-track projects and Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo stated that the IDB needed to know that the lack of delivery on the contracts is not because procurement officials are not aware of the procedures; it is because of corruption.When I heard these pronouncements, I was taken aback because this same situation existed during all the 23 years when the Opposition was in Government and they were in positions of power to make a difference. I asked myself: Where were Jagdeo and Nandlall then? Are they are only seeing this now they are out of power?I always support sense over nonsense. Therefore, I support Nandlall’s position on the setting up of a PCC Appellate Tribunal and I also support Jagdeo’s move to alert the IDB about corruption in the public procurement process. I hope the former President did indeed write to IDB about it as he said.Like many other genuine investors in Guyana with extensive knowledge of the way contracts should be awarded, I am extremely frustrated by the persistence of corruption, favouritism and racism in the public procurement process. It is absolutely atrocious that there is no suitable, independent body in place to hear appeals against bad decisions or to report wrongdoings.Th public procurement process is riddled with irregularities, peculiarities and secrecy. It is also extremely doubtful that it is being handled by persons who have the integrity, independence and expertise to make fair decisions when awarding contracts. It is also quite evident that many contracted works are not being evaluated by honest, principled and technically competent persons.Therefore. I am calling on the members of the Government and Opposition to pull out all the stops and take effective action now to get rid of the corruption and fix in the public procurement process, and also set up an Appellate Tribunal to deal with complaints and appeals.Think of all the millions of dollars in scarce development funds that are leaking through the holes in this corrupt and backward system. The time for talking is long gone; this is the time for action. The nation must not have to endure this nonsense while politicians drag their feet.But it seems that Government Ministers in power and their officers feel compelled to help whom they they like; establish their own corporations under family names even without equipment and experience; or, they feel indebted and must compensate the boys.In the process, professional, non-corrupted, non-political individuals and those who pay their taxes and NIS are left to divine intervention. I know. . . I felt the terror under the PPP/C Government, where some Ministers and some Permanent Secretaries doled out contracts by manipulating the system for their compadres and compatriots and for their part of the ‘take.’ I know of these things. I suffered then, and suffer today. Sadly the PPC seem to have forgotten my case against the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education. Do I now turn to the Court of Law?How quickly certain government officials cause leaders of good intent to lose their credibility. For example, with all the fiasco over payment of less than approved wages to security guards in Region 6 and no remittance of NIS to the scheme, my company’s tender was below the one awarded to a new kid of the block by almost $2 million. Yippee! And he also became a favorite of former Ministers and Presidential aides. I have to admire these guys who can fool Ministers and Governments in power with promises of support at election time.This is an advisory to the Government: Whenever you try to select and support a particular group, those people feel chosen, protected, and hence, shame the Government and abuse the system because they feel protected. With the last Government we saw this with UAS&DS and another party boy favourite, who stole literally billions of dollars from NIS, paid below approved wages and specialized in theft of taxes.UAS&DS operates under a different name today and has now, as it did then, a senior former Government functionary as a Director. What must Guyanese expect? I thought this new administration would have changed the entire system of deceit, manipulation and corruption, but it seems that we are cursed!!!!!!!Sincerely,Hajji Roshan Khan Snrlast_img read more

City reach Champions League last 16 after Shakhtar draw

first_imgAlthough Manor Solomon equalised for Shakhtar, Atalanta’s win over Dinamo Zagreb ensured City can’t be knocked off top spot.“We have qualified. We played so good in second half. The group stage is always tricky but the target was to qualify and we have done it,” Guardiola said.“Now we have one competition already done – we play the last game qualified as first in the group – so we can focus on the Premier League until we arrive in the cups.”With the group clinched, Guardiola has the bonus of being able to rest players for the trip to Zagreb on December 11.That is especially important as the Zagreb fixture comes between vital Premier League matches against Manchester United and Arsenal.While City won’t give up their Premier League title without a fight, Liverpool are in such a strong position that Europe could provide Guardiola’s best hope of a major prize this term.Guardiola won the Champions League twice as Barcelona boss but the last of those triumphs came in 2011. He hasn’t gone past the quarter-finals with City.Returning to the knockout stages was a first step toward ending that frustrating streak, but Guardiola will know injury-hit City have plenty of room for improvement.“Shakhtar have quality players and are well organised and have an extraordinary goalkeeper so we knew it would be difficult,” Guardiola added.“We had a lot of opportunities but at the end, 1-1 was enough to qualify. We did it seven years in a row.“But this competition in February will be completely different, tougher. We’ll see in which conditions we arrive there. This competition is about the details.”City made a sloppy start and were almost caught out when a long punt into their half prompted Ederson to rush off his line.When the City keeper completely missed his attempt to clear, Shakhtar’s Mateus Tete charged into the penalty area, only for Fernandinho to block the shot with a superbly timed last-ditch slide.City’s limp opening was at least partially due to the absence of the club’s record goalscorer Sergio Aguero, sidelined for several weeks after injuring a thigh in Saturday’s win over Chelsea.Gabriel Jesus started in place of Aguero, but the Brazilian, who has scored five goals in eight starts this season, was largely anonymous.– Sluggish City –Ponderous for much of the half, City gradually found some rhythm and Nicolas Otamendi’s header from Angelino’s cross forced an agile save from Andriy Pyatov.City have opened talks with Raheem Sterling about a new long-term contract that would reportedly make the 24-year-old one of the highest-paid players in the Premier League.Sterling’s place among the world’s elite is without question, but this wasn’t the England winger’s best night.City finally conjured a move befitting their ability, cutting through the Shakhtar defence to take the lead in the 56th minute.Kevin De Bruyne was the catalyst with a swift surge and pass into Jesus in the Shakhtar area.Manor Solomon levelled for Shakhtar Donetsk © AFP / Paul ELLISJesus did well to control and poke the ball across to Gundogan. The German midfielder took a touch before slotting into the bottom corner from 10 yards.Even that wasn’t enough to paper over the cracks for sluggish City and Shakhtar equalised in the 69th minute.Tete slipped his pass to the overlapping Dodo and his cut-back from the touchline drew a lethargic response from the City defence, allowing substitute Solomon to fire home from close-range only four minutes after coming on.David Silva almost restored City’s lead seconds later, but the substitute’s shot was cleared off the line by Serhiy Kryvtsov.0Shares0000(Visited 16 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan struck in the draw against Shakhtar Donetsk © AFP / Oli SCARFFMANCHESTER, United Kingdom, Nov 27 – Pep Guardiola insisted it was mission accomplished as Manchester City booked their place in the Champions League last 16 for a seventh successive season despite a lacklustre 1-1 draw against Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday.Guardiola’s side were well below their best at the Etihad Stadium, but Ilkay Gundogan’s second half strike put them on course to wrap up first place in Group C with one game to spare.last_img read more