Dear Editor,

Reference is made to an article carried in the Stabroek News edition of April 21, 2024, with the caption “AFC calls for gov’t nominees on PPC to step down over Tepui decision”. According to the report, the leader of the AFC, Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan argued that the Public Procurement Commission (PPC) “…abandoned their power under Article 212 AA (i) (h) and (i) which provides explicitly that they investigate complaints, and in cases of irregularity and mismanagement and to propose remedial action”. He further argued that “they [the three gov’t commissioners] heeded not the prescription in the Supreme law of the land…”

I would like to state categorically that I, Joel Bhagwandin, shall resign with immediate effect provided that the AFC can cite the authority, inter alia, the specific section (s) in the Supreme law of the land (the Constitution of Guyana) and/or the Procurement Laws and Regulations that were heeded not by the PPC. That is, which specific section (s) therein provide expressly for the nullification of a contract, or imposition of penalties of any kind that can be invoked by the PPC, a constitutional body, as regards the contract award to Tepui. And if so, why were they not applied previously when a former AFC Minister was found directly in breach of the Procurement Act.

Furthermore, the statement by the AFC that the PPC did not propose remedial action as per Article 212 AA (i) (h) and (i) of the Constitution, suggests that the AFC did not study the report in its entirety. Contrary to the AFC’s inaccurate claims, the PPC report provided thirteen (13) recommendations, all of which were acknowledged by the Government of Guyana, pursuant to their subsequent statement following the publication of the report on the summary of findings.

In particular, the PPC recommends that “the contract for the subject tender having been entered into, it is recommended that the procuring entity strictly monitor the performance of the contract and if the awarded bidder TEPUI is found in breach, that the necessary steps, including termination if considered to be prudent, be taken to ensure that value for money is achieved. In light of NPTAB’s disclosure as to the other three (3) pump stations, to wit, ‘Jimbo, Meten Meer Zorg and Poudroyen’ which were advertised and evaluated at the same time as the subject tender herein, Belle Vue, also “lacked prior experience specifically in pump station construction” but were deemed to have “had completed a project of a similar nature” and therefore the “same leniency was applied”, the recommendation herein also applies to those pump stations”.

The report goes onto state that “the Commission pursuant to its constitutional mandate, functions and powers shall exercise oversight in this regard”.

It is quite ironic that the AFC rejected a report that was largely in its favour, while the Government accepted an adverse report exposing shortcomings within the public procurement system. This obvious irony flies in the face of the AFC’s pronouncement that the Government nominated Commissioners are acting as a branch of the Executive arm of Government. Why would a Government expose its own adverse shortcomings? Perhaps only a Government that is committed to scrutiny, accountability, and transparency.

Of interest to note, the PPC has published a total of five reports including the Tepui contract, all of which similar recommendations were made. The question is why only this contract is gaining such profuse attention whereas all the others were ignored.


Joel Bhagwandin
Commissioner, PPC


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