SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Ombudsman Gwendolien Mossel recently concluded the systemic investigation regarding the Procurement process/Procurement Management Policy of Princess Juliana International Airport Operating Company N.V. (PJIAE N.V) at the level of the functionally responsible government body for PJIAE, the Shareholder Representative / Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT).
After providing a Preliminary Findings Report, the Final Report was submitted on 24 April 2019 to the Minister of TEATT, Stuart Johnson, and Prime Minister Leona Marlin-Romeo.
The Ombudsman concludes in her report that it remains inconclusive whether PJIAE’s Procurement Management Policy (PMP) is in accordance with the fundamental principles of public procurement, due to the limited cooperation received from government/the Minister of TEATT in terms of the unsubstantive answers provided. The Ombudsman observes that the PMP is insufficiently transparent at the level of the functionally responsible government body for PJIAE/government. The evaluation criteria used in the tendering and selection of bidders appear not to be accessible to interested (third) parties and the public in general.
Based on the abovementioned, the Ombudsman has made the following recommendations to government:
- Government should improve the legal framework for public procurement by enacting legislation or establish standardized procurement guidelines that require civil or social control mechanisms (for example tender boards) to monitor the processes of public contracting;
- Government should develop a classification of arm’s length bodies (government owned companies/ private entities with public authority (‘ZBO’s’) etc.) which sets out the legal status of each type and how they are held accountable;
- Government should provide a copy of PJIAE’s Procurement Management Policy to the Ombudsman for perusal;
- Government as shareholder should ensure that PJIAE makes its Procurement Management Policy available to stakeholders.
The Final Report was also submitted to Parliament considering the nature and importance of the investigation for the public. The Ombudsman has requested a status report on the recommendations within three (3) months from the date of the report.
The Final Report is available for download via the website: www.ombudsmansxm.com, under the ‘Reports & Articles’ tab.