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Jan 19, 2022

PM: Contractor General Did Review Speednet Contract

John Briceño

In August, the Government of Belize announced that it had contracted the services of Smart as a telecom provider for various ministries.  At the time, the decision was met with strong objections from different sectors, and then the government conceded that the contract did not go through the Contractor General’s office.  Today, Prime Minister Briceño said while that may be the case, the Contractor General did review the contract. The PM pointed out that this practice has been one that he inherited from his predecessor.

 

Prime Minister John Briceño

“Government has admitted that they did not to go the Contractor General, so basically all that’s going to be done is that it is going to go to the Contractor General for him to take a look at. But in the letter or the report that the Contractor General gave, he was very clear that he saw that all the process was followed; that it was open, it was transparent and that SpeedNet did give the best offer to the government. It’s only that it did not go to him for final vetting. But that is the way it has been done from under Dean Barrow.  The Financial Secretary was very concerned that the time was coming up that the date for the license to come to an end – it was just like about a week. So I guess in his haste, and I have not sat down to ask him about it. I guess in his haste he said SpeedNet you won it and please hurry make sure they don’t cut us off.  In this case, it was not the political directorate that cut corners; it is the Public Service and now the Public Service also needs to understand that we need to follow the right procedures that have been set out. So I see it as something positive that we do not make those mistakes again. What is important is that it was a bid that was set out for tender, it was a bid that was followed – it was open and transparent – and that SpeedNet did give the best offer. And I think that is what you need to be looking at; that that is what we did to save money for government as opposed to say, “Oh it neva gone to Contract General.” But here we are. We are correcting it and then we move on, we learn from that.”


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