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Contractor general responds sternly to OUR

Published:Monday | September 30, 2013 | 12:00 AM

CONTRACTOR GENERAL Dirk Harrison has issued a stern response to the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), following its claims last week that his conclusions into the 360-megawatt project were "patently incorrect and unsupported by the requirements of Government policy and the law."

Harrison in a release yesterday said the OUR's response has only sought to avoid the real issues associated with the consequent acceptance of Energy World International's (EWI) proposal by the OUR after the established cut-off date.

Emphasis was placed on the fact that the OUR issued a formal document directed to several state authorities that challenged certain findings and conclusions of the Office of the Contractor General's (OCG) Special Investigation Report concerning the Right To Supply 360MW of Power To The National Grid.

The contractor general noted that his office was left with no other alternative but to consider two courses of action which it could have recommended to the OUR to ensure that solutions are developed to ensure that value for money and probity are considered a priority and are achievable.

courses of action

(1) "Given the untidy, inappropriate and irregular state of affairs and the poor handling of a very significant project of such national interest, the process is to be aborted in its entirety."

(2) "Rely on certain fundamental principles and tenets attendant to certain provisions of the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) procurement guidelines and the Contractor General Act, in an effort to preserve the integrity of the process, since the OUR was acting inconsistent with GOJ policy."

Harrison said in the national interest and to maintain a balance without compromising the integrity of the process, the OCG chose the latter.

He further highlighted other issues associated with the transaction such as the OUR's indication that it had engaged into the receipt and acceptance of unsolicited proposals.

"However, the publishing of a notice, the consequent receipt of other proposals after the published announcement clearly shows that there was solicitation," he noted.

Harrison added: "It was therefore on this basis that the OCG was unable to concur with the OUR that the process used was in keeping with the treatment of unsolicited proposals allowed for in the GOJ Procurement Procedures".

The contractor general said the acceptance of EWI's proposal following the conclusion of an evaluation process, and not subjecting its proposal to the same rigours that were brought to bear on the other proposals, were irregular and unfair.