PM. Rowley slams critics of Govt amendments to Procurement Act

PM Dr. Keith Rowley

It’s been Law since 2015 but Procurement Legislation in Trinidad and Tobago has not been fully proclaimed or operationalized. Government took amendments to the legislation yesterday in the House of Representatives seeking to protect government to government arrangements in addition to providing exclusions for financial, auditing, accounting and medical services from the remit of the bill.

Dr. Rowley in fiery form, slammed the Opposition and critics of the proposed amendments.

“Where have you ever heard that you could hire a lawyer on the basis of who gives you the lowest price? Where on earth have you ever heard that you choose a doctor who gives you the lowest price for medical services? Anyone of us, God forbid, gets sick, you want to know who is the best doctor in that area,”.

Dr Rowley also defended his government’s decision to remove government-to-government arrangements from the ambit of the law, saying the Government discovered some of the provisions were impractical.

The PM continued: “I know that there are contractors and their associates who have a problem with that,” he said, adding they feel they would be excluded from getting contracts under such arrangements, “and they make all kinds of allegations and accusations, much of it unsubstantiated by fact”.

The Prime Minister stressed that Government’s responsibility for the country’s 1.3 million people is rooted in the Representation of the Peoples Act. He said said the Opposition was saying it did not want the Government to have responsibility for government-to-government relations and instead it must be the regulator.

Stressing the regulator is not a procurer, Dr Rowley underscored: “The country holds the Cabinet responsible for eve­­ry single governmental action. But you (Opposition) are saying put the responsibility in the hands of the minister and the Government while placing the authority somewhere else”.