Govt’s caretaker status puts State contracts at risk – PSC

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Companies are now extremely concerned about the status of contracts with the State, now that the government must be in caretaker mode.

“It is the Private Sector’s view that the President, by his behaviour, has put at risk all private sector entities and other organisations made subject to contracts and any other action authorised by the Cabinet, by presuming them to be legal,” the PSC said in a strongly-worded statement yesterday.

The PSC said it has asked its members to seek legal advice in this regard.

Since the Government fell to the no-confidence vote on December 21, 2018, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has always maintained that the Government should be acting in a caretaker capacity only and not be entering into large scale contracts.

Jagdeo’s position was vindicated by the CCJ on Friday last when it ruled that the Government should act as a caretaker or an “interim” administration until a new president is sworn-in.

“Article 106 envisaged that the tenure in office of the Cabinet, including the President after the Government’s defeat, is on a different footage from that which existed prior to the vote of no-confidence

“By convention, the Government is expected to behave, during this interim period, as a caretaker and so restrain the exercise of its legal authority. It is this caretaker or interim role that explains the three-month deadline in the first instance that the Article lays down in principle for the holding of fresh elections,” CCJ President Justice Adrian Saunders stated.

But President David Granger, after those orders, announced that Cabinet is still meeting.

According to the PSC, the Head-of-State’s posture is “unacceptable”.

“It is totally unacceptable, therefore, to the Commission that the President has refused to honour the Constitution in announcing that the Cabinet shall continue to function.”

On January 18, it had been announced that Cabinet noted the award of a total of 36 contracts that went through the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB). These multi-million dollar contracts ranged from the construction and rehabilitation of roads to the construction of pump stations and the supply of fibre optic cables to the National Data Management Authority.