Cabinet is to consider a submission to amend the Contractor General Act, aimed at protecting the business secrets of investors during the pre-contract stage.
This was disclosed by Attorney General, Patrick Atkinson on Wednesday, May 29, during his contribution to the 2013/2014 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives.
He explained that the intention is to limit the involvement of the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) in certain investment opportunities at the pre-contract stage.
He assured that the move will not prevent the OCG from taking action on any breaches.
Mr. Atkinson noted that there are “several strategic investments at hand” and several others to come, and “when such investment opportunities are in the formative and feasibility stages, confidentiality is usually demanded by those seeking to do business with the Government”.
“More often than not, they require protection of their business and production secrets, from their competitors,” he pointed out.
Mr. Atkinson added that they may also wish to be assured that they will be fast-tracked towards approval or rejection and ask for the prevention of unnecessary bureaucratic delays.
He noted that the question of Cabinet’s confidentiality and the possibility of premature publication by press release of sensitive proprietary information before completion of the process, would also be clarified.
“Towards this end, I have received permission to say that the Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr. the Hon Omar Davies, will present a submission to Cabinet to amend the Contractor General Act, which will not preclude the OCG from a complete review of the process when it is concluded, and will not compromise the OCG’s ability to take appropriate action if a breach is detected,” the Attorney General said.
“This proposed amendment to the Act will satisfactorily dispose of the issues of concern in the existing legal action, which is now before the court. If Cabinet finds favour with the Minister’s submission and the matter is referred to Chief Parliamentary Counsel for drafting, I would, in a timely manner, seek the Cabinet’s permission to file an application to discontinue the current court action against the OCG”.
The Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, has applied to the Full Court of the Supreme Court for a re-hearing in a matter against the OCG for interpretation of certain sections of the Contractor General Act.
Contact: Latonya Linton