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Transparency needed! Dumas, Hart and Raymond urge Carmona to heed Uff’s procurement advice

 “[…] Contracts, particularly large-scale ones, should not be awarded without elementary transparency so that the public can be assured of straight dealings.  The appointment of the Procurement Regulator, albeit an employment contract, will be one of the most critical contract awards in the history of our Republic.”

The following letter, signed by Afra Raymond, Reginald Dumas and Victor Hart and dealing with the issue of transparency in public procurement, is addressed to President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona, was submitted to Wired868 by Afra Raymond:

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago President Anthony Carmona is snapped before a meeting with China President Xi Jingping in Port of Spain on 2 June 2013.
(Copyright Frederic Dubray/AFP 2016/Wired868)

The large-scale waste and theft of public money remains one of the most serious concerns for our country and the full implementation of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act is therefore a matter of very high priority. That implementation should be done in a manner which fosters confidence and sets the table for a new era of proper dealings in the conduct of our nation’s public affairs.

We are encouraged by the 2nd November 2017 media releases from the Office of the President and the Ministry of Finance, both stating that the appointment of the Board for the Office of Procurement Regulation is anticipated to be made by the end of this month, December 2017.

As a matter of best practice in these most crucial appointments, the public should be apprised of the details of the selection process. This is simply not a matter we can afford to have go awry since there is such a dire need for transactions using our increasingly limited public money to be properly supervised.

As a parallel example, we would offer for adoption the 39th recommendation of the Uff Report:

The reviewing of tenders and the making of decisions upon the award of contracts should be undertaken in as transparent a manner as possible, including demonstrating clear compliance with procurement rules, so as to allay suspicion of improper actions or potential corrupt influences.

Photo: Late former Prime Minister Patrick Manning (right) with then UDECOTT executive chairman Calder Hart.
(Copyright The Globe and Mail)

The point is that contracts, particularly large-scale ones, should not be awarded without elementary transparency so that the public can be assured of straight dealings.  The appointment of the Procurement Regulator, albeit an employment contract, will be one of the most critical contract awards in the history of our Republic.

We are therefore requesting, in the public interest, that the following details be published before the appointments are made:

  • the selection process being used
  • the identity of the firm or personnel implementing that process
  • the identity of the short-listed applicants.

We anticipate an early and positive reply in the collective interest of instilling and maintaining a high degree of public confidence in the processes involved in this critical matter.

We await your response.

Photo: Former Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan (right) shares a tender moment with UNC financier Ish Galbaransingh, who is wanted for corruption by the United States Government.
(Copyright Trinidad Guardian)

About Afra Raymond

Afra Raymond is a Chartered Surveyor and Managing Director of Raymond & Pierre Ltd. He is the ex-president of Institute of Surveyors and immediate past president of the Joint Consultative Council for the Construction Industry (JCC), having served between December 2010 and November 2015.

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2 comments

  1. Afra in the midst of my ‘despair’ I laugh heartily at the images you attach in/to your articles.Thank you …our national guardian.

    So are there any provisions in the legislation to ensure admissibility of digitised evidence/videos/recordings?OR is this a separate legal issue?OR are these addressed in the whistle blower legislation?

  2. The call for transparency is like a fart in a hurricane. The person to whom the call is made is suspect in a number of shady dealings himself, and the political will to be transparent is non-existent, not merely lacking. Which politician, after all, will risk jeopardising his bread and butter by alienating his financiers, who will be seeking the rewards they feel entitled to…

    The parameters of the Board’s appointment is not the only missing link. What about the terms and conditions of employment, the extent to which the Board’s authority is permitted, what exactly are the conditions of oversight, what authority to punish transgressors…? So many questions, so few answers.

    I already foresee another toothless tiger, and a sprinkle of ‘jobs for the boys’.