FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hon. Michael Pintard
Leader, Free National Movement
October 16, 2023
THE BAHAMAS – This Davis led PLP never fails to underwhelm and underperform. Late into this past Sunday night, the Ministry of Finance released an incomplete procurement report. Even with it being well late, this so called procurement report simply does not provide the requisite information that the Prime Minister is legally required to provide to the Bahamian public.
Even in something so straightforward and basic, this PLP government has failed to follow the law in the presentation of this report in a number of instances. First, we have no information provided on any procurement from September 2021 to August 2022, although the government still has a legal obligation to provide this information consistent with the law in force at that time.
Second, it would seem that none of the contracts awarded by state-owned enterprises such as NIB, the Public Hospitals Authority, Water & Sewerage, or the University of The Bahamas are included in the report. This information is required by the Public Procurement Act 2023 (PPA) in Section 75 (2) (g).
Third, there are clear examples of significant contracts that were awarded during the reporting period that were simply left out in the report. One such example is the award of a multi-million dollar and multi-year contract by the Ministry of Transport for navigational aids to a company that seems to have had no such experience in a project of that size and scale. Is there a reason why the government has hidden this particular contract?
The law is clear. Section 75 (2) (a) says that the government must include ALL procurement contracts in its reports. Why is the government keeping the details of select contracts from the public? What is there to hide?
Finally, by law, the Prime Minister as Minister of Finance is to lay this report in the House of Assembly so as to be accountable in a formal way for its contents. The fact that this half-baked incomplete report has come out in the dead of night via press release is nothing more in my view than a sad but now common attempt by the flailing and failing Davis led administration to side step accountability for its contents.
The opposition rejects this so-called report outright. This is not what the law requires. We demand that the Prime Minister comes to Parliament at the next sitting with a full and proper procurement report showing ALL contracts by government agencies and state owned enterprises for the period of September 1 2021 to June 30, 2023. The government must also begin to follow the law and put all relevant jobs out for competitive bidding and publish the contract winners within 60 days consistent with the legal requirements. It’s long past the time for the PLP to finally start obeying the law!