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Nov 7, 2016

Region’s Officials Train in Best Practice on Public Procurement

A five-day training course in Public Procurement commenced today at the Biltmore Plaza in Belize City. Officials from across the region are taking part to acquire knowledge on the process of procurement as it relates to the economic partnership agreement between European Union and CARIFORUM, the economic arm of CARICOM. The participants will be looking at the best practices in obtaining goods and services from the first phase in identifying a requirement to the final step of the award of the product or contract. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.



Duane Moody, Reporting

Government officials from CARICOM states and the Dominican Republic have converged in Belize for a five-day training course in Public Procurement. The objective of the CARIFORUM-European Union Capacity Building Project is to support member states with beneficial integration in the world economy, specifically competition, procurement and customs and trade facilitation. Top on the agenda was procurement reform and bilateral trade agreements.


Dr. Leroy Almendarez, Director-General, Foreign Trade

“It’s really to understand first of all what is procurement because procurement talks about transparency. Is there a process, is there a team that does evaluation, is there a bidding process; is it competitive? In other words, when you are procuring the services and you are bidding, is there every intention, objectively to ensure that you get the best services—as they would say the best value for money—because at the eventual outcome, the benefit to any society will then have to be that whatever you have procured—whether it is services to build streets or whatever it is—it should provide the greater benefit on a long-term basis. But it should eliminate like I said, it goes through procedures and of course very competitively. And when you make that determination and the successful applicant or bidder is informed, they would have gone through all that process.”


Essentially, the participants who represent government ministries and agencies will develop international best practices for accountability and good governance through procurement of services and goods. According to Adrian Chin, reform will include capacity building, implementation of electronic systems and a robust training program that must be championed by a political directorate.


Adrian Chin

Adrian Chin, Trainer, International Procurement Institute, Jamaica

“We look at the development of international best practices in procurement. We also go into the procurement cycle, looking at how participants and how procurement professionals manage procurement from a thought to execution to looking back at their process to feedback into another thought that they need a solution. Then we go further over into the elements of the CARICOM regime and the EPA; that is the Economic Partnership Agreement between CARIFORUM states and the European Union.”


In Belize, as many other countries, there is no procurement unit. So what procedures are being employed to ensure that corruption does not creep in the process?


Leroy Almendarez

Dr. Leroy Almendarez

“You should eliminate bias; there should be no bias, there should be no insider trading because what it simply means that every entity that bids should be looked at A, B, C, etc.  It doesn’t have anything to do with name association. Of course name will come with companies and they will send in their bidding for the services, what it is going to cost. And as soon as the entity has been selected, it becomes public. In other words, it becomes a publication. If you look in the newspaper sometimes you can see that X, Y, Z was selected; the others were not selected. That’s a transparent process. And too often it does not have to be the highest bidder or the lowest bidder; it’s the most successful bidder.”


In terms of the bidding process and the dynamics between local businesses and international companies, Doctor Leroy Almendarez says that standards must not be compromised.


Dr. Leroy Almendarez

“What the harmonized policy will be looking at a certain threshold. Certain thresholds will be set where the procurement will be primarily domestic. In other words, let us say for example, anything below a million dollars can be procured locally. But again, we must remember that it does not mean that because you are procuring locally, that you compromise or you dilute the standards that are required because the services and the goods that are being provided must provide the benefits to those beneficiaries who are expected to. Now above those certain level, then it becomes competitive bidding across member states or it is international.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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