Infrastructure Minister Stephenson King on December 11 has justified government’s decision to issue up to 30 Direct Awards given within the space of one day.
Documents purporting to be the Direct Award contracts have been reportedly leaked on social media and have been providing a lot of fodder for the talking points on local talk shows. According to documents obtained by HTS News4orce Economic Development Guy Joseph who served as Acting Prime Minister for most of November signed off on more than 25 Direct Awards valued at more than $12 million dollars to various construction firms on November 20.
While Joseph was not available for comment at the weekly pre-Cabinet press briefing, the Infrastructure Minister explained that the volume of Direct Awards issued was to fast-track government’s ‘aggressive and positive’ works program. King blamed the delayed passing of the Budget last April for affecting the Infrastructure Ministry’s timelines to undertake the public works.
The issue of leaked documents continues to dog the Allen Chastanet Administration. The Economic Development Minister and now Infrastructure Minister have taken issue with public service whistleblowers. King has warned public servants who contravene the Staff Orders can face disciplinary action.
The Infrastructure Ministry has maintained that the practice is not uncommon and was above board. King added that the absence of a Departmental Tenders Board ‘forced’ the Ministry to carry out internal assessments of proposals for works valued at $100,000.