Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 28, 2016 (SKNIS): According to Deputy Programme Manager of the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME), Phillip McClauren, the platform for a regional procurement regime in the form of a regional electronic notice board is expected to be established by January 2017.

“The platform is now being designed so you should have a platform ready by January 2017,” Mr. McClauren said. “I am not sure if we would be ready then to begin to publish procurement notices on the platform, but the platform should be ready based on the indication from the contractor … and we should go live at that time.”

This entire week involved a series of training opportunities as outlined by Ministry of Trade Project/Research Officer Kevin Arthurton, who serves as the local counterpart.

“The training on Monday and Tuesday was geared towards government officials i.e. procurement experts to let them know what is coming and what should be done by government officials…,” Mr. Arthurton said. “The agreed threshold that is going to be in the (Procurement) Bill is $150,000 for goods and services and 3 million dollars for work. So anything at or above these thresholds must be placed on the open market. Wednesday’s training involved other local persons such as contractors, suppliers, engineers who would bid on government’s contracts. The training was designed to facilitate them to have predictable and transparent bidding opportunities with no fear of discrimination… Thursday was geared toward the legal fraternity to educate them on the laws that apply and the legal ramifications of implementation and the recourse that could be had if one felt unduly treated within the system. Today we had the CSME Unit come in and do the Bill sensitization and participants would have been invited who attended all the sessions thus far.”

Mr. McClauren had noted that a consultation had been held in January this year where the procurement platform had been discussed. He said another session would be held locally between February and March 2017 to “do the last set of consultations on the actual procurement platform.” He said at that point the stakeholders would be shown how to post notices and how to respond as private sector and the like.

Mr. Arthurton said that the 14 member states of CARICOM who were part of the CSME would be able to post procurement opportunities at or above the mentioned threshold that is built into the procurement regime following its establishment.