…on new Demerara Harbour Bridge
When will this confounded thiefin’ stop?? Your Eyewitness knows, dear reader, you’re scratching your head, wondering WHICH particular thiefin’ is troubling him today!! Yes, there IS a “thiefin’ de jour”!! Well, he’s kvetching about the ILLEGALLY PROCURED bid on the design of the new Demerara Harbour Bridge and how it’s now being “justified”.
First of all, this procurement abuse has been in the public domain from day one of this PNC-led Administration – for the simple reason the PNC and AFC had made such a fuss about their claims on alleged PPP abuses. Now you’d think after all their denunciations, they would’ve been somewhat circumspect about thiefin’ right away, wouldn’t you?? But you would’ve wasted a thought!!
Before you could even say “Forbes Burnham”, the procurement thiefin’ started with the bottom-house warehouse and the ANSA pharma giveaway! At the time, your Eyewitness thought the PNC types were getting their thiefin’ done before the Public Procurement Commission (PPC) was in place. There was no one guarding the milk and the cat was loose!! He felt vindicated when the PNC/AFC Government dragged their feet appointing the PPC till the end of 2016. And which didn’t really get going until a year later!!
The irony was the AFC had made the appointment of a PPC as a centre point of their campaign and when it was finally in place, Ramjattan had exulted, “I am so proud that it has happened in the first half of our term, after waiting for more than a decade. The Cabinet’s role will fade away and it will now be the task of the Procurement Commission.”
Yet it was the Cabinet, not the PPC or the Tender Board, that approved the sole-sourced design for the new DHB. The Ministry of Public Infrastructure’s explanation for the sole-sourcing would’ve been a veritable comedy of errors if it wasn’t so contemptuous of the nation’s collective intelligence. Their actions describe what they did quite accurately…where they become ridiculous is their EXPLANATION of their decision as being LEGAL!
At the point where their “Bid evaluation team” – all drawn from MPI’s employees” – rejected the three submissions from the 12 short-listed firms, they should’ve started the process all over again. Not take a NEW (unsolicited!!) proposal from one of the shortlisted firms and have the MPI and the Finance Ministry decide that this fit the bill!! This is tantamount to short-circuiting a new bidding round by sole-sourcing through unauthorised agencies on the specious ground of “urgency”.
The irony is, after spending $148 million illegally, the sole-sourced design has now been rejected by the Government, after the Chinese ambassador described it as 19thy century!!
So, what happened to “urgency”??
…rectified on Chanderpaul?
The University of the West Indies will be bestowing an honorary Doctorate to Shivnarine Chanderpaul for his contributions to West Indian cricket. If there’s anyone who’s earned a doctorate in this field it’s “the Tiger”!! There are many who’re born with blinding talent – such as a Lara or Viv – who can take the game by the scruff of the neck and give it a good shake, through just innate talent.
But Chanderpaul had to learn his craft through painstaking observation, forming hypotheses and then testing them in in the field and on the pitch. His success demonstrates the success of his scientific approach to the game befitting a doctorate. Take his batting stance – which some derided as “crablike”. It might be that – but it darned well worked!! The test of the stance is its success in generating runs!!
Then there is his tremendous ability to concentrate on each ball and never just give away his wicket – which some felt was a “West Indian” idiosyncrasy.
Today we wish our players would imitate this Cricket Doctor!!
AG Basil Williams has been accused of “pussy footing” on implementing the Judicial Review Act. “Pussyfooting” means delaying taking action but Williams actually is scared activating the JRA will put his Government in jail. He’s actually pusillanimous!!