“With respect to the contractors, Lowe said the same rigorous standards of accountability and transparency would apply, since if they were being paid to do a job, it would be ensured that they did it…” … from the Nation News article Cramped UDC Has Lowe’s Attention
Has Minister Lowe The Strength To Walk The Walk?
We at BFP have great respect for Denis Lowe, our new Minister of (take a deep breath) Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Urban Development.
Denis Lowe was talking about integrity legislation, transparency and accountability before most politicians ever heard the words. And even when many of his DLP compatriots spat on the ground every time he beat the integrity drum, Mister Lowe continued to talk his talk.
And Denis Lowe’s talk was, and is, good – because unless we all continually speak about the problems and the goals, nothing will happen.
But there comes a time when folks have to start walking the walk…
For the DLP Government and Minister Lowe that time is now.
The First Thing The Denis Lowe Could Easily Make Happen Is…
Minister Lowe could instantly bring transparency to the way that government contracts are handed out at the Urban Development Commission if he would place all tender requests and RFP’s on a website and make that website the primary source of information for those wishing to do business with the government.
That way, everybody would have an equal opportunity to see the tender requests at the same time. Couple that with a system where all tenders are opened at a pre-announced location and time (once again announced on the internet) and where the winning tender is placed online for all to see – and Minister Lowe will have resolved 90% of the transparency issues with the existing process.
Most modern North American governments at every level (city, state, federal) use such an open online system. I’m sure that any number of jurisdictions would be happy to assist Barbados to implement such a process.
We Don’t Have To Invent A System: Many Governments Use The Internet To Make The Bidding Process Transparent
Minister Lowe: just think about how easy it would be… Call up the Government Purchasing Agency of Newfoundland Province, Canada in the middle of a snow blizzard and ask if they wouldn’t mind coming down to sunny Barbados for a couple of weeks and setting up our online tendering process the same as they run for Newfoundland.
You think those frozen computer geeks and their bosses would say NO to that offer?
Pay their airfares, put them up at a government-owned hotel and have our geeks work with the Canadian geeks. Prime Minister Harper was all lovey-dovey with Barbados last time he passed through and with all this talk about good relations between Canada and Barbados, how could the Canadians refuse such a simple request?
Especially if we do it NOW in the middle of their winter – and throw in a couple of bottles of Mount Gay. Yup… those Canadian computer geeks would be killing each other for the chance to give us a hand!
Although we’ve delivered our message with a little bit of humour, there is much truth that a public online tendering website would be easy to implement.
Frankly, Minister Lowe – our own Cliverton says he could have one put up in a couple of days using the same WordPress software that we use for Barbados Free Press.
Hey… Now there’s an idea!
But we’ll hold off putting up such a website for now as it would be a little embarrassing to the new Barbados DLP Government if we made it happen before they did.
All the best, Minister Lowe.
Please let us know when the Urban Development Commission’s transparent bidding process will be online.