Opposition Senator Jayanti Lutchmedial on Tuesday moved a private motion in the Senate, aimed at annulling the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property (Exemption)(Financing Services) Order 2023.
The motion was filed in the name of Opposition Senator, Wade Mark.
Lutchmedial accused the Government of having gradually whittled down the oversight powers of procurement legislation since it was originally passed by the People’s Partnership (PP) Government in 2015.
The order, dated September 7, exempts the procurement of financing services for the government or a public body by the Ministry of Finance.
Lutchmedial described the order as “surreptitious.”
She accused the Government of legislating through the back door, adding that billions of dollars were excluded from accountability.
Lutchmedial said corruption had plagued the public service for decades, but the PP regime had brought the Procurement Act on the basic of advice garnered at public consultations and from the findings of commissions of enquiry.
She reminded that the PNM had walked out of a joint select committee (JSC) on procurement legislation and then had not supported the bill on the parliamentary floor but had abstained from voting. Lutchmedial lamented that 2020 had seen the “most dastardly act of decimation” against the procurement bill.
“We have a history of things being removed by amendments,” she said, saying the justification offered for these had been “wishy washy.”