AIRPORT–It is inconclusive whether Princess Juliana International Airport Operating Company’s (PJIAE’s) Procurement Management Policy (PMP) is in accordance with the fundamental principles of public procurement, due to the limited cooperation received from government and Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications (TEATT) Minister Stuart Johnson, in terms of the unsubstantial answers provided.
This is the conclusion made by Ombudsman Gwendolien Mossel in the final report of her systemic investigation regarding the procurement process/Procurement Management Policy of PJIAE at the level of the functionally responsible government body for PJIAE – the Shareholder Representative, which is Johnson.
Mossel said in a press release on Thursday she observed 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 these findings, the Ombudsman has made several recommendations to government. These include that 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 and 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.
Other recommendations include that government should provide a copy of PJIAE’s Procurement Management Policy to the Ombudsman for perusal and as shareholder representative, government should ensure that PJIAE makes its Procurement Management Policy available to stakeholders. The Ombudsman has requested a status report on the recommendations within three months from the date of the report.
Mossel recently concluded the systemic investigation. After providing a Preliminary Findings Report, the Final Report was submitted on April 24, to Johnson and Prime Minister Leona Marlin-Romeo.
The Final Report was also submitted to Parliament considering the nature and importance of the investigation for the public. The Final Report is available for download via the website: www.ombudsmansxm.com., under the “Reports and Articles” tab.