The members of the Public Procurement Commission (PPC), who were sworn in by President David Granger, earlier Friday have been charged to uphold the sacrosanct tenets of the Constitution and to be independent, impartial and fair in the execution of their duties.
At a simple but significant ceremony, held at the Ministry of the Presidency, Ms. Emily Dodson, Ms. Carol Corbin, Mr. Sukrishnalall Pasha, Mr. Ivor Burnette English and former Minister of Labour, Mr. Nanda Kishore Gopaul took the Oath of Office before the President, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, Vice President and Minister of Public Security, Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan and Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon.
Delivering the charge to the new members, President Granger said that the Constitution of the land mandates that a Public Procurement Commission be established. The Constitution, he noted, is sacrosanct and its provisions, therefore, must be observed and applied scrupulously.
“The Government of Guyana iterates its commitment to the principles of accountability and transparency in the conduct of public business. The establishment of the Commission evinces the importance of ensuring equity and fairness in public procurement. I congratulate you –the members the members of the Public Procurement Commission – and urge you all to be faithful to the oath you have just sworn. I charge you with upholding the constitutional duty of the Public Procurement Commission in being independent, impartial and fair,” he was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the Ministry of the Presidency.
The President said that the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly was responsible for the selection of the members of this Commission and this bi-partisan process of selection is a demonstration that, however intractable political differences might seem, the bases for political agreement and consensus on matters of national interest should always be sought.
Meanwhile, Vice President and Minister of Public Security, Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan, in an invited comment, said that it is a happy day for the Government and the people of Guyana, since the Public Procurement Commission is one of the campaign promises of the coalition Government. After more than a decade of being inactive, the Minister said that it is an accomplishment to be able to have the PPC up and running.
“This is one of our biggest lobbying points to get proper accountability in this country and I am so proud that it has happened in the first half of our term after waiting for more than a decade,” he said.
This establishment of the PPC will now clear the way for the approval of the award of contracts to be handled by that body instead of the Cabinet. Minister Ramjattan said that this will ensure that there is more transparency and accountability to the Guyanese people. “It will be a big plus for governance in this country and it is of course keeping with the Constitution of Guyana,” he said.
Mr. Nanda Gopaul, in an invited comment, said that he is happy with the confidence, which has been reposed in him and the other members of the Commission by the Parliament and the Government as a whole.
He noted that the Commission will work to ensure that its integrity and the interests of the Guyanese people are priority in every decision that is taken.
“I would do my utmost to ensure that the integrity is upheld and we are happy that the democratic system has worked. We are happy that the Parliament has put confidence in us, the members of the PPC and that the President has put the necessary systems in place to have the Commission established. We will work to ensure that the interests of the Guyanese people and the country as a whole, are protected,” he said.
Among the PPC’s key functions are, according to the Procurement Act, to “Monitor and review the functioning of all procurement systems to ensure that they are in accordance with law and such policy guidelines as may be determined by the National Assembly; promote awareness of the rules, procedures and special requirements of the procurement process among suppliers, constructors and public bodies; safeguard the national interest in public procurement matters, having due regard to any international obligations; monitor the performance of procurement bodes with respect to adherence to regulations and efficiency in procuring goods and services and execution of works; approve of procedures for public procurement, disseminate rules and procedures for public procurement and recommend modifications thereto to the public procurement entities.”