28 July, 2010
Tenders Boards and Procurement: We continue to examine the question of what tests there are for us to conclude that there is accountability and transparency in any particular government. The second institution that we would look for is a properly functioning Tenders Board and a well regulated procurement procedure. That means it must be governed by a law and supported by legal sanctions.
A significant portion of Anguilla's national budget is spent on developing infrastructure, repairs and maintenance. Procurement of goods and services, relating to contracts for roads and schools and offices and hospitals, offers the most attractive opportunities for those who wish to corrupt the process and illegally enrich themselves. Corruption damages not only governments, but also companies and individuals. It is in the interests of our countries and our people to do what is necessary to minimize the opportunities.
Anguilla we have been very astute to do nothing that will discourage corruption in the procurement process. Our procurement systems in Anguilla are essentially lawless and unregulated. Our presently unregulated system is an invitation to sharp practices.
Transparency and accountability are the main antidotes for this type of corruption. We need to insist on recognised standards and procedures in relation to procurement and tendering. Tenders Boards ought to have the independence and security of tenure of their members protected by the Constitution. We need appropriate laws and regulations to set out how public contracts are to be awarded. The Integrity Pacts recommended by Transparency International will carry the process forward and upwards to an entirely new level.