No bids from St Thomas undertakers
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Please allow space in your newspaper to respond to the letter titled 'St Thomas undertakers cry foul at Government' published Sunday, April 29, 2012.
In 2010, the Jamaica Consta-bulary Force (JCF) and Ministry of National Security (MNS) embarked on a programme to establish contracts with funeral homes that had been providing morgue services to the JCF over several years.
In seeking to establish these contracts, you must appreciate, it is necessary to abide by the rules of transparency described in the Government of Jamaica's procure-ment guidelines.
In 2010, the tender process which had begun in 2009 culminated in several contracts being issued to funeral home operators across the island. Those contracts were for a period of one year so that a more complete understanding of this new dispensation could emerge.
On the 10th and 17th of July 2011, advertisements were placed in both daily newspapers inviting tenders for funeral home services. Applicants were to submit their tenders by August 31, 2011.
On the closing date for the tender, a public opening of the bids was conducted. There were no applications from any operator in St Thomas. It must be stressed that in this context only a formal response, as dictated by the rules of the tender, can be accepted. A letter outside the time frame for the tender is not good enough.
With this lack of application, the MNS and JCF were left with no alternative but to assign various different parts of the country to the successful tenderers.
There is no calculated plan by the ministry and the JCF to exclude St Thomas operators. It must be understood, however, that according to the rules of transparency, we can only deal with those entities that have expressed their interest in the time and format demanded by the circumstances.
The MNS and JCF instruct the contracted funeral homes to collect bodies in which they have an interest at no cost to the relatives. All costs associated with the moving of that body up to the point of the post-mortem is for the account of the ministry and the police force.
Director, JCF Corporate & Special Services