The National Integrity Action, NIA, is calling on the Integrity Commission to investigate the award of the Montego Bay Perimeter Road Project to China Harbour Engineering Company, CHEC.
The multi-billion-dollar contract has been designated a National Development Project according to provisions of the Public Procurement Act and will not go to tender. The contract has been awarded directly to CHEC.
The Opposition People’s National Party, the PNP and the Master Builders Association have criticized the contract award.
In a statement today, Executive Director of the NIA, Professor Trevor Munroe, said the NIA has grave anxiety at what he described as the exclusion of the public procurement guidelines as one of the independent guardians, empowered to watch over the use of Jamaican tax payers’ money.
Professor Munroe says this anxiety is heightened by numerous past expressions by the Office of the Contractor General, whose functions are now subsumed in the Integrity Commission, at terms under which CHEC has been awarded contracts under previous GOJ Administrations.
The NIA Executive Director is calling on the Integrity Commission to Investigate what mechanism, if any, is to be utilized in ensuring that the Jamaican people get value for money.
The NIA also wants the Commission to determine whether Finance Minister, Dr. Nigel Clarke received advice and recommendations in accordance with the Public Procurement Act when Minister Clarke moved to declare the Montego Bay Perimeter Road Project a National Development Project.
The NIA says it wants the Commission to make representations to the Government of Jamaica to publish in full the terms of the Agreement with CHEC, including what sanctions, if any, are applicable should CHEC breach any of the terms of the National Development Order.
The NIA says it also wishes to ensure that all sub-contracts in relation to the Project be awarded on a competitive basis, on merit and without impropriety to ensure value for money.
Minister Clarke told the House of Representatives recently that the Mobay bypass initiative has been designated a National Development Project by the Government of Jamaica.
1.2 billion dollars have been allocated in the Budget to begin work on the project.
Minister Clarke recently opened debate on the Public Procurement (National Development Project) (Montego Bay Perimeter Road Project) Order, 2021 and an accompanying resolution which is intended to pave the way for the completion of the project.
Minister Clarke noted that he tabled the order further to powers granted to the Finance Minister under the Public Procurement Act.
The Government used its majority in the House of Representative to approve the order.