The Director of the Department of Energy, Dr. Mark Bynoe, today said he would welcome any investigation into the hiring practices of the department.
His statement is against the backdrop of the Department coming under criticism from the Opposition for its hiring of the VideoMega Production company for the production of three Public Service Announcements.
Minister of Public Telecommunications, Cathy Hughes, is still listed as the Managing Director of the VideoMega, although she has since indicated that she ended her day to day operations with the company when she became a Minister back in 2015.
On Thursday, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo said there should be an investigation into all of the contracts that were received by VideoMega under the current government.
Responding to a question at a press conference today on the issue, Dr. Mark Bynoe said if there is anything that his department could be accused of in the matter is that enough due diligence may not have been carried out.
“We utilize the procurement processes within the Ministry of the Presidency. My understanding is and it still remains, the Department went for an individual or requested an individual, it wasn’t asking for a firm. To the extend that a firm subsequently was contracted, is somehow not where we wanted to go. The one issue that the Department can be accused of is possibly not doing sufficient due diligence. But personally from where I sit as Director, I welcome any possible investigation of any sort that persons may feel necessary to clear the air on whether there was any nefarious activities or whether there was a case of favoritism…we as a Department don’t have anything to hide”, Bynoe said.
The Energy Department had reportedly contacted broadcaster Russel Lancaster to produce the Public Service Announcements and he channeled the job through the VideoMega company, which he now manages.
Minister Cathy Hughes said she was never aware of the contract and only became aware of it when it was raised by the People’s Progressive Party. While the PPP claimed that the contract was for millions of dollars, it turned out that the actual cost was below one million.