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Do not back Government projects if governance practices are not followed - Christie

Published:Tuesday | April 29, 2014 | 2:31 PM

Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

Former contractor general Greg Christie has suggested international financial institutions should not support any Government project that does not follow established governance practices.

His recommendation follows confirmation from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) that it does not intend grant financing to Energy World International, EWI, because of the concerns over its selection as the preferred bidder for the 381MW energy project.

The loan being sought by EWI is to provide non-equity financing that would enable it to build the plant.

However, in a post on social networking site Twitter, the former contractor general said the IDB should be commended.

Christie said other multilateral institutions should take a similar approach with Jamaica until the country’s governance standards are improved.

Yesterday he said the Government must understand that there are huge costs to pay when it ignores its own procurement procedures and institutions for good governance.

The IDB representative to Jamaica, Therese Turner-Jones is warning that Jamaica must pay attention to transparency and good procurement practices.

In a report to Parliament last September the Office of the Contractor General charged that the Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell acted improperly when he facilitated EWI’s inclusion as a bidder.

The report said it was clear that the deadline kept moving to facilitate EWI given that the company was given an extension after the evaluation of bids had already concluded.

In the latest development, it has been reported that the Government is contemplating approaching the IDB to ask that it respond favourably to a request from EWI.

The IDB's representative here says her office has not yet been approached by the Government on behalf of EWI.

However, Turner Jones says it would make for an awkward situation given that initial interaction was only between the IDB and private sector group, not a Government.


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