KINGSTOWN, St Vincent — The method of bidding and financing for the infrastructure rehabilitation and upgrade – River Coaching Works at Yarabaqua has acquired a lot public outcry.
The outcome was a CDB evaluation, and declaration of “ mis-procurement, in accordance with Paragraph 1.13 of the Caribbean Improvement Bank (CDB) tips for procurement (January 2006),” and the decision that this “Contract will probably be cancelled, and any amounts already withdrawn and paid in relation to the contract shall be repaid by the Recipient, the federal government of St Vincent and the Grenadines, with interest. CDB will subsequently not finance this contract,”
Prime minister Ralph Gonsalves tried to calm public fears final week stating that “the work needs to be executed and its urgent work so Cabinet has taken a choice to have lawyer basic have the ministry of works submit a draft contract for the excellent works to be accomplished by the same Dependable Development for the lawyer common to evaluate,” including, “Naturally, we should pay for that. That’s ok. I imply we now have a lot of money with the CDB and we aren’t apprehensive about that.”
A subsequent assertion outlined the procurement course of determination and means forward states:
Natural Catastrophe Management Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Challenge (December 2013 Trough Occasion Challenge: Infrastructure Rehabilitation and Improve – River Coaching Works at Yarabaqua.
(A) PROCUREMENT PROCESS AND DECISIONS MADE THROUGH IT
The National Disaster Administration (NDM) rehabilitation and reconstruction undertaking (December 2013 Trough Occasion) is financed by the Caribbean Improvement Bank (CDB). One of the necessary actions beneath this programme is the Infrastructure Rehabilitation and Improve – River Coaching of Works at Yarabaqua. The pre-bid engineering estimate for these works was EC $1,512,077. The Ministry of Transport and Works is the implementing agency tasked with the execution of the NDM programme basically including the Yarabaqua River Training works.
The Ministry of Transport and Works invited contracts to submit bids for the river training works to be carried out at the Yarabaqua River. Seven (7) bids have been acquired on April 23, 2018, the small print of that are as follows:
– OB Sadoo Engineering Providers Ltd. $1,584,458.62
– Hutchinson Development co. Ltd. $2,169,272.00
– Bailey Contractors Inc. $1,310,772.00
– Bally and Bally Investments Inc. $1,478,029(corrected $1,468,514.60)
– Franco Development Ltd $1,574,797.00
– Dependable Development Providers Ltd. $1,421,567.00
– Kelectric Co, Ltd. $1,325,928.45
A design and supervision marketing consultant, IBI Group of Canada, was contracted by the Ministry of Transport and Works to offer consultancy providers beneath the NDM programme. This group of consultants have been themselves selected via the unbiased tendering strategy of the Authorities of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (GOSVG) with “No Objection” from the CDB; they’re paid underneath the NDM challenge.
Consistent with their phrases of reference, the IBI Group completed the Bid Analysis Report of the seven (7) bids acquired for the Yarabaqua venture. By memorandum dated August 10, 2018, the Chief Engineer submitted the Bid Analysis Report to the Secretary of the Central Supply Tenders Board, Ministry of Finance, looking for approval to negotiate with Dependable Development Providers Ltd (RSCL) for the supply of river coaching works at Yarabaqua for an quantity not exceeding EC $1,421,567 (VAT inclusive).
The submission from the Chief Engineer to the Tenders Board was accompanied by a letter of “No Objection” from the CDB, dated August 13, 2018, indicating that the “CDB has no objection to the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines awarding a contract to Reliable Development Providers Ltd. of St. Vincent and the Grenadines for the sum of XCD $1,421,567 (VAT inclusive)”.
The Tenders Board granted strategy on 29th August, 2018 for the Ministry to barter with Reliable Development Providers Ltd. The negotiation for the works was carried out on September 05, 2018 with the NDM venture employees and the principals of RCSL. On completion of the negotiations, the Ministry sought the approval of the Tenders Board on September 10 to award the contract to RCSL. The Tenders Board granted the approval for the award of the contract to RCSL on September 26, 2018 in the sum of $1,421,567 (VAT inclusive).
The decision by the Tenders Board to award the contract relied upon the Bid Analysis Report prepared by IBI Group (the Advisor) and the letter of “no objection” issued by the CDB.
The CDB, in a letter dated April 09, 2019, knowledgeable the Director Basic, Finance and Planning that a mis-procurement has been declared in respect of the Yarabaqua River Defence contract between the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and RCSL. The CDB additional said, that because of the mis-procurement, the financing for the contract has been cancelled and the sum of EC$142,156.70 which was already drawn down should be repaid inclusive of interest. The CDB has subsequently waived the cost of the interest on the quantity drawn down. The CDB has advised that funding for all different NDM venture actions remains intact.
The mis-procurement was declared by the CDB consequent upon its inner evaluation of its “no objection” to the award of the contract; the assessment was triggered by a formal grievance by one of the dropping bidders for the contract. The grievance targeted on an allegation that RCSL didn’t have the monitor document and capacity to carry out the contract as per the procurement tips.
It must be emphasised that a mis-procurement does not amount to corruption; certainly there’s completely no allegation of corruption, fraud, impropriety or misbehavior in public office by any official in the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines or elsewhere. The CDB’s assessment indicates primarily that the conditionalities and guidelines were not scrupulously applied, thus resulting in its holding of unfairness in the means of aggressive bidding.
It have to be underscored that the value of the current mis-procurement represents a very small proportion of the full procurements undertaken by the Authorities with CDB and by no means characterizes the state of the Authorities’s procurement system. Public procurement has all the time been carried out with the utmost transparency. In extra of eighty % of Government’s procurement are carried out using the Open Competitive technique. Quarterly and Annual Procurement Stories are revealed within the print media and on the Authorities’s website, displaying the identify of the contractor, the worth and nature of the procurement and the procurement technique used. Further, a contemporary Public Procurement Act was handed within the Parliament in December 2018.
The tendering means of the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is an unbiased one and is not topic to any political or other undue interference. The Tenders Board carries out its obligations with due regard to professionalism, transparency, accountability, and the authorized requisites of the method to one of the best of its means. Each the tendering course of and the work of the Tenders Board have a sound document.
The Tenders Board on the time of the award of the instant contract, and at present, consists of the next seven members: The Director Basic of Finance and Planning (Chairman), the Accountant Common, the Everlasting Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Works, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce and three private servants (Leroy Rose — a banker; Ashelle Morgan — a lawyer; and Joel Woodley — a small businessman). The private servants are appointed by Cabinet.
Dated the 22nd day of July 2019.
Director Basic, Finance and Planning
(Chairman of Tenders’ Board)
(B) THE WAY FORWARD
The river defence and river training works of the Yarabaqua River (the primary river in North Central Windward as one enters the constituency at Belle Vue going northwards) nonetheless must be achieved urgently. Time is of the essence on this hurricane season. The home-owners on the bank of the river are very weak; their anxieties have been communicated to the Prime Minister. RCSL has already accomplished a lot preparatory and precise work on the Yarabaqua Venture. Actually, RCSL has been on the job for almost six months; RCSL is actually out of pocket for work already achieved; and RCSL’s work has been assessed as passable.
The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (GOSVG) has been suggested by its related officers that RCSL has the capability, personnel, and gear to complete the job which it has began. The Ministry of Transport and Works is glad that underneath its ongoing supervision and that of the relevant professional employees of the GOSVG, the standard supervision of infrastructural works could be properly effected with RCSL because the Contractor.
Accordingly, the Cupboard underneath its authorized authority has determined to permit RCSL to renew its work at the Yarabaqua River. The financing shall be effected by way of the Consolidated Fund of GOSVG, not utilizing CDB monies. The Ministry of Transport and Works has been directed by Cupboard to submit a Special Warrant to acquire financing for the work and to deliver a draft contract for the excellent works to the Lawyer Common for urgent assessment.
Given that point is of the essence on this matter, it isn’t affordable within the circumstances for the Government to take another yr or so to go through the competitive tendering process again. In its decision-making, the GOSVG could be very aware of its obligations (including probably legal ones) to the home-owners on the bank of the river on which works have started and stopped.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet took the choice to terminate the pre-existing contract to RCSL. Further, the Cabinet has requested the Ministry of Transport and Works and the Tenders Board to evaluation the evaluation of the bids and the advice rendered by the consultants, the IBI Group. Such a evaluation and authorized advice of the Lawyer Common will tackle the matter of the IBI Group’s skilled advice on the bids in the first place and its potential legal responsibility to the GOSVG for any loss or injury incurred on suffered.
Since March 29, 2001, the GOSVG, at its highest levels, has taken very critically the requisite for independence, transparency, and professionalism of the public tendering course of. Indeed, inside one week of taking Workplace, the current Prime Minister instructed the Chairman of the Tenders’ Board to discontinue the apply of sending the Minutes of the meetings of the Tenders’ Board to him. The Prime Minister has also instructed the Ministers to have a hands-off strategy in respect of the unbiased work of the Tenders’ Board.
They’ve complied with this instruction and no member of the Tenders’ Board has complained to him over the previous 18 ½ years that any Minister or anyone else has sought to exercise undue influence on their deliberations and decision-making. One of the best value for cash comes by means of a correctly functioning public tendering course of. Cabinet might intervene to waive the tendering course of in circumstances of urgency and necessity.
It ought to be pointed out that the objector/complainant to the award of the tender to RCSL was within its right to take action if it thought-about the award of the contract to be “unfair” to it. Equally, it ought to be acknowledged that the Objector/Complainant, an area company often known as Bally and Bally Investments Limited, has obtained many contractual awards by means of the exact same public tendering process, inclusive of development contracts financed by the very same Caribbean Improvement Bank (CDB). Certainly, that company is at present executing a CDB-financed contract awarded by the Tenders’ Board after a strategy of bid evaluation by a Marketing consultant, endorsement/suggestion by the Chief Engineer, and “No Objection” by the relevant official at the CDB.
The CDB recognizes that the GOSVG has a sound public tendering course of. That is among the the reason why it continues to do large business with the GOSVG. Indeed, solely final week the CDB and the GOSVG (including the Prime Minister) have been in detailed and superior discussions on a loan of over US $100 million in respect of the co-financing of the proposed Trendy Kingstown Port. The CDB also is actively involved in the large Geothermal Venture. So, too, is it engaged actively with the GOSVG within the financing of different NDM tasks, different Sea and River Defence Tasks, Street Tasks, tasks in Schooling and Training, Poverty Discount, and different areas, and the Primary Wants Belief Fund (BNTF) Tasks. The CDB remains a worthwhile companion to the GOSVG and is the source of a lot of the improvement loans to the GOSVG.
The GOSVG assures the individuals of St. Vincent and the Grenadines that it’ll continue to apply greatest practices to, and strengthen even further, the general public tendering course of. Lengthy gone are the days when solely a handful of corporations obtained authorities contracts. And every quarter, and yearly, the GOSVG publishes the abstract particulars of all contracts awarded by the general public tendering process. No authorities did that earlier than. And just lately Parliament enacted a modern Procurement Act.
The GOSVG reiterates that there isn’t a undue affect, corrupt follow or impropriety in the award of the unique contract to RCSL by the Tenders’ Board. The award was achieved after an open public tendering course of, evaluation by an unbiased marketing consultant, a submission by the Chief Engineer, and a “No Objection” by the relevant official of CDB itself.
Allegations on the contrary are pure political mischief by opposing political partisans and various fellow-travellers.
Dated the 22nd day of July 2019
Dr The Hon. Ralph E. Gonsalves