Cabinet reiterates policy decision on government purchases

By Orville Williams

Cabinet has reminded the relevant stakeholders that all capital purchases for the government or its statutory bodies that exceed $100,000 must be approved by Cabinet before being brought to the Tenders Board.

According to Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister, Lionel “Max” Hurst, the adjustment is meant to both prevent the waste of resources and improve monitoring.

“It used to be $20,000 and what we discovered is that when there were people intent on doing wrong, they would have $19,000 contracts – many of them – so that they flew under the radar.

“We believe that, to engage the Tenders Board for $20,000 is really a waste of very valuable time, so we have placed that cap at $100,000 and anything that even approaches [that figure] must come to the Cabinet first,” he explained.

With this adjustment, the Cabinet will maintain oversight of the contracts that will eventually be put to the Tenders Board.

He further said that the Cabinet is not worried about the occurrence of similar improprieties, as they are “far more vigilant now” and “looking out for those [occurrences]”.

“We are now implementing some electronic systems that allow us to track wrongdoing by a company and even an individual. It’s the ASYCUDA system, the new electronic system that allows for a look back at what has occurred, as well as provides an opportunity to examine each and every broker and what [they] have submitted – we are looking at the same kind of system for the distribution of contracts,” he said.

Hurst also added that this system helped identify one broker that has submitted more than $3 million worth of waivers that were not granted, and that they were going after that particular broker.