Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Opposition MP Jermaine Figueria today called out the government and particularly President Irfaan Ali for his administration’s failure to swear in members of the Public Procurement Commission.
Although the National Assembly has given bi-partisan support of the five nominees to be appointed to the Commission, there has been no movement to activate the Commission.
Attorney-at-Law Pauline Chase, Economist Joel Bhagwandin, Rajnarain Singh, Berkeley Wickham and Diana Rajkumar were given the National Assembly’s blessing to sit as Commissioners on the new PPC.
At the starting of the Public Accounts Committee meeting today, the Chairman questioned the slow pace in appointing the Commission, noting that the Committee had worked hard to bring the matter to finality.
“Several months have passed and the Commission has not been functional. So on behalf of the Public Accounts Committee, I would like to make the call on His Excellency the President to do what is expected of him constitutionally – the mandate of swearing in the commissioners of the Public Procurement Commission o that they can execute their constitutional duties,” Figueira said.
Figueira said the country can no longer do without the Commission, noting that the government continueS to doll out large contracts in the Commission’s absence without proper oversight.
He explained that if the government was interested in transparency then it would have moved with haste to have the Commission activated.
“So we call on the President to act swiftly, and make the Commission functional so that off of Guyana can benefit from the services of these identified commissioners and more so transparency and accountability would have some footing by the functioning of this commission,” the PAC Chairman noted.
Both the Government and the Opposition had viewed the appointment of the PPC as urgent.
In making the case for the appointment of the Commission in April, Governance Minister, Gail Teixeira highlighted the importance of the Commission to transparency, noting that the country cannot go on longer without the Commission in place.
The Public Procurement Commission monitors public procurement to ensure the principles of fairness, equity, value for money, and competition are upheld and to ensure that the procedures of public procurement are executed in accordance with the laws of Guyana.
The life of the last Commission came to an end in late 2019.