Moonilal: Fire Udecott board over PoSGH tender fiasco

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal

Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal said the Urban Development Corporation (Udecott) and Telecommunication Services of T&T (TSTT) are engaged in a messy blame game over the e-tendering process for a contractor for the Central Block of the Port of Spain General Hospital.

Moonilal called for the entire Udecott board to be fired immediately for the debacle, saying the agents of Udecott must be held accountable.

He is also calling on government to answer several questions about the qualifications of the chosen contractor.

In a release, he said a new development now has two state corporations in an embarrassing public tug-of-war over to the e-tendering process.

On Monday, Udecott issued a release saying while three tenders were received during the bidding process, only two were initially seen when the e-tender box was opened.

It said TSTT, which manages the eTender platform, said the error was due to a loss in internet connectivity while the tender was being uploaded.

On Wednesday, TSTT said the loss in connectivity was the fault of the contractor’s internet service provider, which is not TSTT.

Both agencies said the third tender, which was awarded the contract, was uploaded before the deadline.

Moonilal said the introduction of a third tender applicant after the formal deadline was a potential criminal offence, which must be properly investigated by the police.

“The government must also state what are the industry and Udecott procurement rules regarding the late submissions of tenders, whether hardcopy or otherwise. The public must also be told the rules specific to the submission of the tender contract for the Central Block. Still further, there must be public disclosure about the basis on which contractors are selected for a job of this magnitude, complexity and national importance.”

He said Udecott must indicate the experience of these contractors, particularly the lowest tender applicant, in erecting multi-storey structural steel-framed buildings, and whether these critical areas were demonstrated in the tenders.

“Of vital importance, too, is the financial standing of the tendering firms and whether they could realistically complete a project of this magnitude in nine months, especially during the current rainy season. The Rowley government must cease the senseless finger-pointing, and must also reveal the evaluation criteria and respective scores for each tender applicant.”

He said the reconstruction of the Central Block is a critical public project that “warrants best practice by the authorities, and not the irrational attempts by two prominent agencies to throw shade on each other. Udecott must provide full disclosure and assure the country of accountability on the tendering process and selection of the most suited contractor for this overdue and important project.”