Bids could become public

| 10/11/2010

(CNS): The premier has agreed to consider the possibility of allowing all bids for government contracts to be opened in a public forum after the close of deadline on tenders. A private members motion tabled in the Legislative Assembly on Monday asked for the central tendering process to be conducted in the open and McKeeva Bush said it would be given consideration. As the entire tendering process is under review, the premier said he would ask the auditor general to consider the idea raised by Ezzard Miller. The member for North Side said if all the bids were opened under the scrutiny of the public eye the people would be in a better position to determine if a final decision represented real value for the public purse or not.

The independent MLA said that although the details of the winning bid are revealed, the public cannot make a proper judgement on whether or not the company awarded the contract was the best choice when they do not see the other bids for that tender and are not privy to the process by which the technical team have arrived at their choice.

“It is time for government to open up the entire tendering process and have bids opened in front of all the bidders, the media and the public,” he said. Miller added that unless thedetails of all the bids were made public it would be difficult to determine if the technical teams involved had got the best value for money or why they had recommended a particular bid over another to the committee.

Acknowledging that government is not obligated to always select the lowest bid, Miller said that if those involved in the selection process know their decisions are taking place under much closer public scrutiny they would have to properly justify their decisions.

In response to the motion Bush said he would recommend that the idea of a more public process was considered during the full review of the central tendering process, though he said he did not think that it could always take place in public. The premier said it was hard to find people to serve in places where they had to make important decisions about people’s lives and sometimes they wanted “to do that in secret as this is a small place”.

The premier also said he did not think that decisions should be made before government had decided what it wanted to do, as he said the government must be the final arbitrator. However, he said government had no problem making changes to how public contracts are awarded and the issue of public tender meetings was something the auditor general should consider when he reviews the current tendering process, the premier added.

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  1. Ole Bush says:

    Caymanians we should be thankful that Mr. Ezzard is a most effective Leader of the Opposition even though he has no party affiliations.

    However,  don’t be fooled. The right of the people is to have the government contracts for bids to be opened  to the PUBLIC in a public forum

    That is your right  so the Premier promising to do this publicly is NO FAVOR DONE to anyone!. Its fact similar to a mother giving birth to her young babe in a hospital and the nurse says to her " Be thankful that we are giving you your young and health baby  to go home with  because we had other plans  like selling your baby for a couple of hundred dollars?! So is this your lucky day?

    IT IS YOUR RIGHT  for the bids to be done in public!

  2. Dennis Smith says:

    Transparency equals Trust.

    Trust is the missing element in Cayman: politically, culturally and especially if we want to attract investment and create meaningful employment.

    Right now Cayman doesn’t pass a basic PEST (STEP) or SWOT analysis, which is why businesses (Local and foreign) are unwilling to risk an investment and total commitment in Cayman’s economy

    Secrecy is the antithesis of trust and mistrust is the foundation of many of Cayman’s problems. It can no longer afford to be a culture of secrets, both locally and internationally. The only way forward is full transparency.

    Inconsistency (The risk or threat of tax changes due to poor fiscal management), core values (Integrities) and principles (Rights: not just Human but also property and wealth protection) are other issues that Cayman must address but total transparency is the first step in our march forward.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Good governance and best tendering practices dictates publishing (e.g. a website or available for physical inspection):

    ·         all invitations for tender,
    ·         all tender documents,
    ·         all correspondence relating to the tender,
    ·         all reports from technical committees / advisors,
    ·         all communication between Central Tender Committee members and
    ·         all documents resulting from proceedings of the Central Tenders Committee.
     It is good to see that Premier Bush apparently has accepted the recommendation of MLA Ezzard Miller and now supports this opening up of the business of government, the beginning of “Government in the Sunshine” in the Cayman Islands. 
    Premier Bush you are encouraged to make this a reality yesterday, it is that important; the corrupt secret awarding system of government contracts (both by government departments and via the Central Tender Committee recommendation process) is financially ruinous to our Islands.
    Now, while the opening up of the Central Tenders Committee seems to be a real possibility then press onwards Premier Bush to complete the opening up of our secret government tendering process – all government departmental invitation to tender for all goods and services (supplied either from vendors within government or vendors in the private sector) must also be required to follow the same process as the revised Central Tenders Committee tendering / award of contract process. 
    If this opening up of all tendering processes of government is not donethen the corruption and political interference using government’s purchasing of goods and services will continue to be used as one of the ways for politicians to reward political supporters and party contributors – all at the public’s expense.
    The public wants to trust government, to do that the public must have access to the information enabling them to understand the decision making process, only then can the decision is verifiable.
     We want to have confidence in our government.
  4. dj4 says:

    It seems like the Premier listens to Ezzard only. He is a most effective voice of opposition that is able to influence both parties with his realistic ideas.