CARICOM Secretariat, Ivor Carryl, says a Regional public procurement notice board will be created for member states to post their contracts, and where any player feels that unfairness is involved in the award of the contracts, the CCJ can be called on to adjudicate.
“In Article 7, which deals with non-discriminatory, equal treatment and fairness, all of your domestic laws and practices relating to CARICOM, must mirror those provisions,” he tells JIS News in an interview.
“If a Jamaican company under the protocol submits a bid, and for some reason he feels aggrieved that the process (the tender evaluation) didn’t go right, he would have the right under the Treaty to challenge the procuring entity, and ask them to explain why he did not win the bid; and he has the right to go to court and challenge the decision,” the CARICOM official adds.
Mr. Carryl explains that under the Regional Procurement Regime, the appeal mechanism has been strengthened, so persons will have easier access in seeking redress.
The broader objective of the project is the liberalization and integration of the regional market for trade in goods and services. This is to establish and maintain a regime for the free movement of goods and services within the CSME.
Building of the Regional Procurement Regime began in 2001, and so far, institutional support has been received from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the European Union (EU).
Other countries in the region are at various stages of advancing their procurement systems, and the Jamaican government is developing its staff through procurement training.
“The global indicators for a new Government regime are riveting…this is what the integration movement is intended to achieve – greater synergy within CARICOM. Thus a regional hub for procurement will essentially strengthen existing trade relations and guarantee new ones as well,” says Minister with responsibility for the Public Sector, Hon. Horace Dalley.
Speaking at a recent Regional procurement forum in Kingston, the Minister argued that improved procurement systems “can lead to greater competitiveness and export readiness.”
He called on all the participants that are involved in fashioning the new regime to continue with the “efforts to improve the region’s procurement systems and procedures, in order to foster collective growth.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Carryl says the procurement project is to ensure greater transparency in the region.
“With the annual publication of all member states’ procurement plans, our local contractors will be able to mobilize and take advantage of new markets,” he notes, adding that the protocol of the new system mandates the publication of all contracts in the region.
“We expect to see more joint ventures and collaboration of our local suppliers, to strengthen their capacity, to ensure that they can meet whatever qualification requirements are needed for the bidding process,” he tells JIS News.
Senior Director at the Procurement Asset Policy Unit, at the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Cecile Maragh, explains that during the transition period, there will be widespread sensitization, to ensure full understanding of the new rules.
She points out that Jamaica has now put in place more procurement methods and techniques “that will speak to the advancement of our local industries as well as the application of these techniques to allow for the setting of framework agreements.”
“We have included both closed and open framework agreements, so there is wide participation of the local industries in providing goods and services to the Government of Jamaica,” Miss Maragh notes.
The Senior Director says the training component of the procurement project is done in conjunction with the Management Institute for National Development (MIND), and is geared at equipping procurement officers with international standards and approaches to minimize errors.
“It involves not only local content of public procurement, but also international best practices, and how to apply those principles in not only writing a tender document, but how to develop effective evaluation criteria,” Miss Maragh outlines.