Concerns are mounting about the process used to select the preferred bidder for the 360-megawatt energy plant despite efforts by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) to show that selection was fair and proper.
On Tuesday, the OUR sought to silence critics by releasing a summary of the report of the independent consultants, Mott MacDonald.
However, this has failed to quiet voices calling for more details of the factors leading to the decision, which industry insiders are adamant was questionable.
With today being the deadline for the preferred bidder Azurest Cambridge Partners to post the US$6.9 million security bond, and the Hong Kong-based Energy World International (EWI) waiting in the wings to take over the project if the timeline is not met, the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) has charged that questions about the process remain.
In a letter to the OUR, the PSOJ said it was disappointed that its call for a delay in the announcement of the preferred bidder was not followed in the wake of the issues heeded by the contractor general in his report on the process.
"In our opinion, this would not have caused any significant delay to the project and, more importantly, could have significantly enhanced the perceived transparency and credibility around the process," said the PSOJ.
The private-sector body argued that despite the announcement of a preferred bidder, confidence in the process can be enhanced by transparency.
"We would, therefore, like to obtain from your office, within the next seven days, all the reports relevant to the final decision being made by your office," added the PSOJ in a letter addressed to the interim director general of the OUR, Maurice Charvis.
Among the documents requested by the PSOJ are the draft report of the consultant, the final report of the consultant, and the final evaluation document which recommended the preferred bidder.
"We will then be in a position to objectively review these documents and provide a stated position, which we hope will assist in the process moving forward ... ."
NO BREAKDOWN OF SCORES
In the meantime, documents obtained by The Gleaner revealed that Energise Jamaica, the consortium which includes the local entity Tank-Weld Metals, emerged the top-ranked bidder in the category on their ability to finance the project.
While the Mott MacDonald summary released by the OUR revealed that none of the bidders made the 75 per cent pass mark, it did not provide a breakdown of the scores.
Yesterday, Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell expressed disappointment that none of the four bidders achieved the minimum score of 75 per cent in the category on their ability to finance the project.
"That is a major concern of mine. I am still hoping that at least one of them, and they are ranked 1-4, will be able to make a viable project out of it. The country needs it. We are actually desperate now," Paulwell told The Gleaner.
. How they scored
Documents obtained by The Gleaner indicate that Energise Jamaica scored 57 per cent, while topping the categories of Financial Capability and Ability to Provide Equity. Energise Jamaica, finished second in the final category Capacity to Borrow Funds.
Optimal Jamaica, which topped the category Ability to Borrow Funds, finished second overall, with 30 per cent.
The preferred bidder, Azurest- Cambridge, finished at the back of the pack, scoring 17 per cent on its Ability to Finance the Project, which it says should cost US$690 million.
Azurest scored zero in the category Financial Capability, one in the category Ability to Provide Equity, and four out of a possible 10 marks in the Capacity to Borrow Funds category.However, the consultant ruled that the Azurest proposal was the most economically advantageous.