EYEWITNESS: Locking the stable…


…after pharma bolted

When they were in the Opposition, the PNC (which morphed into APNU with the fig-leaves of WPA et al) and the AFC bitched constantly about the procurement system for pharma under the PPP Government. Just because the NEW GPC used to snag the bulk of the bids. Never mind the system was established on the advice of the World Bank and the WHO that had worked for decades to come up with an efficient system for third world countries in this critical aspect of national life.

The heart of the system was a pre-qualification process to ensure there were suppliers with the necessary cold-chain supply experience; refrigerated warehousing; financial bona fides to deal with reputable foreign suppliers in bulk amounts, etc. There was also a bonus for providing local employment – standard with Government contracts. Now any company could apply to be prequalified – and several did. The NEW GPC qualified along with one other local company and the mega international pharma suppliers – like IDA and PAHO – and still came out ahead!!

APNU/AFC, however, denounced that arrangement as “sole sourcing” – ignoring the fact that becoming “pre-qualified” was a competitive process!! In their manifesto, they promised to “Provide full transparency and accountability in the procurement of pharmaceutical products.” So what happened after they got into office?? Well two years later – and one warehouse rental over which the Health Minister had to resign after an abject apology; one $605 million sole-sourced contract from ANSA McAL at twice the going prices for the pharma supplied; $4 billion of other purchases through illegal contract-splitting; persistent denials of drug shortages – THEN using shortages as the reason for the  sole sourcing! – the incumbent Minister NOW says she’ll be “fixing drug procurement”!! ROTFLMAF!!

But reading the fine print in the Chronic’s account of what the Minister intends to do, the plans are all about “fixing” the ordering system for Government pharma and stock keeping.

Nothing about returning “transparency” to the PROCUREMENT process!! So why’s your Eyewitness not surprised?? Well, the procurement is from where the gravy flows!! That’s why it took the Government over a year to get the Public Procurement Commission in place, and yet bypassed them in the $605 million pharma contract.

What’s quite interesting is the new powers-that-be seem to have a penchant for Trinis to supply pharma. Word is even the “political investor” from the AFC hasn’t been getting the cut he expected. But then, if the AFC leaders can’t even get what was promised to THEM in their Cummingsburg Accord, what do you expect for even close “others”!!
Expect the same ole, same ole, gaming of the (pharma) system!!

…on “doing the right thing”

The PM’s Shill over at the Chronic was evidently instructed to try papering over the ANSA Arch fiasco. And revealed he could’ve saved the Government all that egg over its collective face!! Seems he’s doing some private gig on the side ($551,000/monthly plus expenses, isn’t enough?? He wants to live it up like his boss??) which involved counting the number of vehicles entering Georgetown.

So when he saw the announcement of the closure of the EC Highway, he figured it would’ve cause the SNAFU it did. So why didn’t he tell the authorities since he’s the DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC INFORMATION?? Seems he did tell the Police on one previous occasion and was bitch-slapped so hard, discretion was the better part of valour!!

Life can’t be easy when your sole claim to fame is “carrying news”!!

…on Govt propaganda

Take a guess which one of the four headlines on the Rose Hall sugar protest was from the Chronic:
1- “Proposed Rose Hall estate closure…Business people, pensioners, taxi drivers join massive protests”
2- “Berbicians in big sugar protest – cops beef up presence”
3- “Anti-sugar reform protest continues – despite gov’t assurances”
4-      “Rose Hall Estate residents, sugar workers unite in massive protest”
Sorry…that was too easy. There’s no prizes!


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