THE Government must follow proper procedure on tendering and procurement if it decides to relaunch its cancelled project to build 5,000 housing units across TT, said the Joint Consultative Council (JCC) in a statement yesterday (Thursday.)
The JCC is an NGO of engineers, architects, contractors, surveyors and planners which lobbies for industry growth, transparency and fair practices.
Amid public comment on the $1.1 million cost per unit and overall US$72 million contract value, the Prime Minister told last Thursday’s post-Cabinet briefing that parts of the contract did not meet Cabinet’s approval structurally and/or legalistically.
The JCC noted that after Dr Rowley ordered the cancelling of the contract between the HDC and China Gezhouba Group (CGGC) to build 5,000 apartment units across Trinidad, both the HDC and the Attorney General have said the project will continue.
“The HDC/ CGGC contract was cancelled by Cabinet based on a seriously flawed contract that would be damaging to the interest of the public.”
The JCC advised on the project’s relaunch.
“The JCC wishes to reiterate that while we welcome this development by the Government, it is imperative that it must be done via transparent and open procurement practices as embodied in our Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act and as articulated in the imminent proclamation of the procurement regulations.”
The JCC said it was pro-development.
“We have always fought for the interest of our citizens via proper development projects based on the platform of transparency, accountability and value for money.”
While the JCC is lobbying for the full proclamation of the Procurement Act, it urged the Government to now comply with the act to safeguard the public purse. It said TT cannot afford missteps in timely delivery or value for money.
“The tender process to procure the units that sets out the steps, and checks and balances throughout the tender should be spelt out.
“We urge the Government to ensure that the ‘latitude’ reportedly given to the state agencies is neither deliberately nor inadvertently abused.”
The JCC said the act must be proclaimed and its regulations asserted.