Dear Editor,

Mr. David Patterson, the former Minister of Public Infrastructure under the APNU+AFC Government, was found by the Public Procurement Commission (PPC) to be directly in breach of the Procurement Act when in or about 2016, he took an “unsolicited proposal” directly to Cabinet, bypassing the open tendering process mandated by law. On the approval by Cabinet, he instructed the General Manager of the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation to sign the contract. At page 8 of the report of the PPC, it states:

“Rawlston Adams, General Manager of the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation (DHBC) signed the contract with LIEVENSE CSO ENGINEERING CONTRACTING BV on December 9, 2016. Mr. Adams informed the PPC that the Board of the DHBC was not a party to the decision to use these funds for this purpose, as approved by CABINET, and further stated that he had not signed the contract on behalf of the DHBC, but only because he was requested to do so by the Minister of Public Infrastructure [Mr. David Patterson]”.

At page 11 of the Report, the PPC stated:

“… the submission by the Minister of Public Infrastructure directly to Cabinet was in breach of the Procurement Act.”

Mr. Patterson remains to this day with the distinction of being the only sitting Minister to be cited for a breach of the procurement law of this country.

However, although Mr. Patterson was found to be directly in breach of the Procurement Act, the PPC did not direct that the contract entered into on that breach be rescinded. The decisions of the then and current PPC are consistent with each other and the law.

Can it therefore be concluded that Mr. Patterson and the Alliance For Change (AFC) by their public statements yesterday (April 19, 2024), are now saying that that decision of the then PPC was wrong and that the contract directed by Mr. Patterson to be entered into on the flawed procurement process should have been directed to be rescinded?

There was no penalty imposed against Mr. Patterson either for directly breaching the procurement law. Is he and the AFC now saying that was wrong and he should have been penalized and he should have resigned? Did they object to the report of the then PPC as they are doing now demanding that the contract should have been rescinded and Mr. Patterson be penalized?

Of course, this clear inconsistency by the AFC and Mr. Patterson has not all been addressed by certain media houses who have dutifully carried their propaganda.

Of note, this PPC on which I proudly sit as a member under the astute Chairmanship of Ms. Pauline Chase, has gone further than its predecessor in that it expressly addressed the deficiency in the law of not providing for penalties for the breach of the procurement laws and recommended at paragraph 152(X) of its report that legislation be enacted to provide for penalties. Will the AFC and Mr. Patterson who are part of the Legislature take up this cause that they are now so openly passionate and vocal about and ensure that the law is amended to provide for penalties for breach of the procurement law. And will they so passionately demand that it be applied retroactively? Perhaps the AFC ought to stay quiet and not shoot itself in the foot.


Joel Bhagwandin
Commissioner, PPC


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