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Eustace: Yes Vote campaign overlooked tendering procedure

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There was no waiver of the Tenders Board procedure for contracts awarded during the ‘Vote Yes’ campaign.

Rather, contracts were awarded based on competency.{{more}}

This is word coming from Senator Julian Francis in response to a press statement released Tuesday by the Arnhim Eustace, Opposition Leader and President of the New Democratic Party (NDP).

The statement accuses the Yes Vote Committee of overlooking usual tendering procedures in awarding a number of contracts.

It went on to state that the Cabinet Secretary “had written to the Tenders Board by letter dated December 11, 2009, seeking a waiver of the Tenders Board procedures for the award of contracts for providing services to the Yes Vote campaign.”

Eustace stated in the document that the usual procedure was not followed in that a number of persons were invited to submit bids for the work to be done.

“If other people were allowed to bid, would taxpayers have paid less?” was the question posed by Eustace and the NDP.

However, Senator Julian Francis refuted this saying that the statement was inaccurate.

“It is written in very infantile language with errors,” Francis said, adding that the Tenders Board had in fact given approval for the contracts to be awarded and not for a waiver of the process.

“This is a normal practice for the Tenders Board – if I have a special job to be done, I go to specialized people then take it to the Board for approval,” Francis told SEARCHLIGHT.

He contended that he selected individuals and or business houses that are competent.

“In my experience having run five campaigns, I know what I want and I want to bring the best,” Francis explained.

“I picked the best five sound systems in the country, said to the Board that this is the contracts I have worked out with them and I am asking for approval,” he said.

Meanwhile, the opposition leader spoke of the rejection of approval of the contract for E-Com Institute due to high rental prices.

According to Francis, he did not agree with the Board that the rental prices were equivalent to that of the purchase price.

Francis said that he was running a “sophisticated data entry system” requiring systems that would have been extremely expensive to purchase.

He further told SEARCHLIGHT that he made arrangements for the rental of 16 computers; 4 desktops and 12 laptops from the said company.

The original arrangement was set at $30 per day for each laptop and $45 for the desktops for a period of 60 days running from September 28 to November 26.

Even then, the prices paid for the rental could not have exceeded the prices of purchase for the computers used.

Francis contends that after the initial correspondence, he renegotiated with E-Com and brought the rental rates down to $20 for laptops and $25 for desktops.

Francis noted that the point presented by the opposition leader was not accurate as it did not include the additional correspondence between the relevant parties.

The matter is still pending before the Board.

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