UNC not surprised procurement law not ready

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Attorney General Reginald Armour at a media conference on June 22. Photo by Jeff K Mayers

The UNC said it is unsurprised by AG Reginald Armour’s statement that the government is not prepared to implement procurement legislation.

In a release, it said citizens are yet to see the benefits of the legislation passed by the People’s Partnership seven years ago, owing to the government’s “wilful obstruction and diversions.”

It said as far back as 2020, procurement regulator Moonilal Lalchan was quoted in the media as saying, “We don’t know what is keeping them back,” in relation to government’s failure fully to proclaim the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act.

“It should be noted that when the Procurement Regulator appeared before the Public Accounts Committee, it was revealed that the vast majority of state agencies were not ready for the implementation of the legislation.” It said this meant the government had deliberately delayed implementing the law by not providing the resources needed to ensure compliance.

“Hence, the Rowley regime has deliberately sabotaged the implementation of any real procurement legislation.”

The release said the fact that the Judiciary has told the AG that an issue remains over the separation of powers is proof that the government continues to bring faulty legislation to Parliament.

“The Opposition is fully vindicated for voting against the gutting of the Procurement Act in December 2020 as well as in leading a ‘Repeal the Procurement Act’ campaign because it is clear this legislation is flawed.” It said as long as the PNM remains in office, “Citizens of TT will continue to be denied the transparency and accountability they deserve.”

The UNC said AG Armour could not be allowed to use the procurement issue as a distraction from his issues with the US courts.

On Wednesday, Armour said more work was needed before the Procurement Act was proclaimed, on the basis of concerns expressed by both the Judiciary and Office of the Procurement Regulator.

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