Government must withdraw “the disturbing amendments” to the Public Procurement Act and return it to its original “pristine glory.”
So said Opposition senator Wade Mark, during a joint press conference with Rodney Charles and Vandana Mohit at the Opposition Office in Port of Spain on Sunday.
Mark said: “Until they do so, the UNC will not be supporting any legislation they bring to Parliament until they return the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act Number one of 2015 to its original status.”
He said the Act of 2015 received the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB).
Mark said what placed the nail in the coffin was the December 4 Act 17 of 2020, which amended the parent act as it relates to transparency, accountability, integrity and value for money.
In fact government made three amendments and Mark said these three amendments dismantled and destroyed the letter and the spirit of the original act and established two parallel procurement regimes in TT.
He said Government in its amendments removed from public view, oversight by an independent body of any transactions involving the sale and disposal of TT’s assets.
Mark pointed to the purchase of two fast ferries by both the Prime Minister and National Security Minister. He said PM Rowley and Stuart Young visited Australia and decided through a committee – “set up by themselves, headed by themselves and took a decision by themselves” – without any independent oversight, to purchase the ferries at over TT$1 billion.
He said while in opposition, this same PNM “falsely championed” the need to address corruption and bid-rigging in the procurement of goods, works and services.
“But those words were cheap talk, old talk..”