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A meeting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which was intended discuss the nominees for the Public Procurement Commission (PPC), was cancelled on Monday after the Alliance For Change (AFC) threatened to withhold its support for the list.
According to the Constitution, the nominees must be approved by not less than two-thirds of the elected members of the National Assembly.
After more than five months of delay, a sub-committee of the Public Accounts Committee, comprising Chairman of the PAC, Jermaine Jermaine Figueira and Government’s Chief Whip Gail Teixeira, on Wednesday, agreed to five nominees – Pesident of the Guyana Bar Association, Pauline Chase is Financial Analyst, Joel Bhagwandin; former Canadian High Commissioner; Rajnarine Singh; former Chairman of the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB), Berkeley Wickham; and Economist Rawle Lucas.
However, Village Voice News understands that the AFC is not in support of the List on the basis that its nominee has been excluded. According to a source, the leadership of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), which forms part of the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), and the AFC are in dialogue concerning the nominees for the PPC.
When contacted, the Chairman of the PAC said that the Opposition takes the appointment of the Commissioners to the PPC seriously and will do all that is required to have the best nominees submitted to the National Assembly for approval by a two-thirds majority, as required by the Constitution.
Village Voice News understands that Wickham and Lucas were nominated by APNU while the other three candidates were nominated by the Government. This publication understands that the APNU is divided on the matter. One fraction is reportedly in favor of the AFC having a nominee while other is reluctant.
October 2021 marked one year since the Public Procurement Commission expired. It was previously headed by Carol Corbin – a Project Management Professional.
Under Article 212 W of the Constitution it is responsible for the monitoring of public procurement with the aim of ensuring that the procurement of goods, services and the execution of works are conducted in a fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost effective manner.
In the absence of the PPC, the Opposition – the APNU+AFC – has said that it has been inundated with complaints from contractors, who believe that they are being treated unfairly during the procurement process. Over the months, it has blamed the Government for dragging its feet on the matter.