Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
…after losing gov’t contracts to “highest bidders”
By Svetlana Marshall
Kalibur Security said it was forced to send home more than 2,000 security personnel after it failed to secure eight contracts from the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development though it had the lowest bids in some cases.
“I couldn’t continue hiring them because I no longer had the contracts,” Managing Director of Kalibur Security, George Gomes said, even as he accused the National Procurement and Tender Administration (NPTA) of colluding with the Government to award contracts to security firms, whose owners are allegedly closely aligned to the governing People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C). “The issue here, it is not public tendering, it is corrupted tendering,” Gomes told Village Voice News during an exclusive interview.
The Managing Director of Kalibur Security explained that after the COVID-19 pandemic hit Guyana in March, 2020, NPTA informed contractors that the public tendering process would be modified given the COVID-19 restrictions on physical interaction instituted by the Government. According to Gomes, contractors were informed that bids for various projects, when opened, would be published on NPTA’s website and in the local newspapers, however, he contended such was not the case in 2021.
Earlier this year, Kalibur Security submitted bids for eight contracts under the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development for the provision of security services for Regional Democratic Councils in Regions One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Nine and 10.
According to Gomes, the bids were not made public, and Kalibur Security found itself losing contracts it once secured in 2020 and 2019.
“I do not know who were the other bidders, or how much they bid for, and all we see, is that awards are given out,” the Managing Director said.
Gomes said he was shock to have read in the local newspapers that Queensway Security Service Inc. was awarded a contract to the tune of $988,786,754 for the provision of security services for the Regional Democratic Council in Region Six, though Kalibur Security had the lowest bid.
According to a copy of the bid seen by Village Voice News, Kalibur Security had bid $562,268,520. “Obviously I have to conclude that they were advised to bid for that figure because the system was not open. That is a case where the highest bidder, got the contract. That cannot be fair, that cannot be fair,” Gomes told this newspaper.
He said based on information received Kalibur Security had the lowest bid for at least six of the eight regions, and was substantially responsive to the requirements of the Bid Solicitation Document as required.
In Region Four, Kalibur Security had bid $855,523,944 for the provision of security services to the Regional Democratic Council there, however, the contract was awarded in two lots with Security In Action Guyana securing a $781,535,664 contract and RK Guyana Security signing off a $241,954,848 contract for the provision of security services in the region under the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development.
Collectively, the two contracts totaled $1,023,490,512, some $167,966,568 more than Kalibur Security had bid.
In the case of the Region 10 RDC, the contract for the provision of security services went to Homesafe Security at a value of $389,896,416. Kalibur Security had bid $333,772,164 for the provision of similar security services in the region.
Gomes told Village Voice Newspaper that he is not convinced that the tendering process was fair as he pointed to possible collusion. “The government is giving contracts to the people that they know, this is anything other than public tendering. I dare them to publish all the security bid figures for all the regions and ministries, let them publish it so we can see who have been awarded, and what they bid in relation to other people, and you will see in most cases, the highest bidders got the contracts,” Gomes posited.
He said the bidding process under the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Administration was transparent and fair.
“The contracts I got under the previous government, the bidding process was open and fair, and they could go and check the records. I got the contracts because my bid was substantially responsive to the evaluation criteria and my bid was the lowest,” he said.
He said in the absence of a functioning Public Procurement Commission (PPC) to file complaints, the company had no other choice but to let go of approximately 1,600 security guards in Region Four and more than 300 security personnel in Region 10. “There is no body to appeal to,” he posited. The life of the PPC expired since late 2020, and has not been reconstituted since.