Law Coming for Certification of all Gov’t Contracts


Significant amendments to the Contractor General Act will be brought to Parliament to criminalize breaches of the contract award procedures, Prime Minister Bruce Golding has reiterated.
Mr. Golding, who was speaking at a press freedom and corruption seminar at the University of the West Indies, said, “the most amazing thing is that we have a procurement handbook setting out copious procedures for the award of contracts, but those guidelines do not have the force of law. What is worse is that if you breach those guidelines, there is no sanction in the law. It may be taken into account in terms of whether your contract is renewed, or you may be given some sort of minor disciplinary sanction”. The Prime Minister said under the intended new provision, any contract that is awarded without having gone through the required procedures, will be made void. To assist with this process, officers will be designated in each government Ministry and Department, to certify that contracts satisfy all the contract procurement requirements.
“If it doesn’t have that certificate, then the contract is null and void, and therefore, if you manage to get a contract through some sort of surreptitious means, don’t carry out the work, because there is going to be no requirement for the government to pay you, since the contract would not have any legal validity,” Mr. Golding stated. He said that while the bureaucracy will be streamlined and simplified, increasingly, there is a need to curtail corruption in the system. The seminar was hosted by the Jamaica Media Association of Jamaica in association with the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce and the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica.
Mr. Golding said Jamaica can take pride in the fact that it has enjoyed over the years, a press that is tough, that is fearless, that has been prepared to confront authorities, no matter how powerful they may be, in pursuance of its mandate to ensure that the public receives information to which it is entitled. “The press has remained strong, and defiant, and I think that that is something that is good for the country,” he asserted.

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