Tesheira: Key parts of procurement law should be enacted

Karen Nunez-Tesheira. -
Karen Nunez-Tesheira. -

FORMER finance minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira said it is a "mystery" that two key parts of public procurement legislation have still not been enacted.

She was speaking during a virtual pre-budget forum held by the Co-Operative Credit Union League on Friday.

She said the two key parts were Section 7 and Section 24.

"Those are the two sections that require government to report any contract they have with the private sector or government-to-government to the regulator to (then) report those contracts to the national community via the Parliament."

She recalled there was an issue last year over a US$71 million deal for the Chinese construction company China Gezhouba Group International Engineering Co (CGGC) to build houses in south Trinidad (and other areas).

"And the terms were so egregious and not subject to any oversight or tendering procedure and it was because, of course, Section 7 and 24 were not (enacted)."

On May 17, 2018, Newsday reported that the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) and CGGC signed a formal agreement for the company to construct 5,000 apartment units at specific sites across Trinidad. Te signing ceremony was held on May 17 at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain. Edmund Dillon was Housing and Urban Development Minister at that time.

In September the Prime Minister announced the contract had been cancelled. The HDC said the contract was above aboard and legal.

The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property (Amendment) Bill 2016 was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on February 7 and March 3, 2017 respectively. The President assented to the bill on March 13, 2017.

In February the TT Chamber renewed its call for the implementation of the procurement legislation, including Sections 7 and 24. In December 2019, the TT Transparency Institute expressed concern that public procurement legislation had not been fully operationalised.


"Tesheira: Key parts of procurement law should be enacted"

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