PM Terrance Drew criticizes security contract for JNF hospital awarded by former HM Wendy Phipps

St Kitts and Nevis: Prime Minister Dr Terrance Drew has recently pointed out that the security contract at the JNF (Joseph N France) General Hospital needed to be appropriately awarded to the Night Watch Security under the Administration of Former Health Minister Wendy Phipps.

St Kitts and Nevis: Prime Minister Dr Terrance Drew has recently pointed out that the security contract at the JNF (Joseph N France) General Hospital needed to be appropriately awarded to the Night Watch Security under the Administration of Former Health Minister Wendy Phipps.

As per the update, this came during PM Drew appeared in an interview on January 28, 2023, held by WINN FM’s Devonne Cornelious, where he stated that the security contract was not handed over under the proper procedures and code of conduct. After that, Former State Health Minister Wendy Phipps flatly and firmly denied the claims of PM, Terrance Drew.

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In his remarks, Prime Minister Terrance Drew has also cited that the awarded contract to the Night Watch Security since 2018 – will be terminated at the end of March, some 18 months before the official end of the contract.

“The contract was improperly awarded without proper procurement procedures. He further suggested that the contract was handed to the firm without the opportunity for other firms to have access to submit bids for the said contract,” said Drew.

In her words, Former Minister of Health Wendy Phipps has indicated that in awarding the security contract to Night Watch Security, the contract was awarded in full transparency and adherence to all procurement standards and policies as stipulated by the Ministry of Finance.

Furthermore, the former Minister, Phipps, added that in this procurement matter – as in all other procurement matters of the Ministry of Health during her tenure. In addition, the Ministry of Finance would have consistently guided the Ministry of Health until the contract was awarded to the successful bidder, said reports.

As per the reports, the procurement and the contract awarded to the Night Watch Security in 2018 were pursued with the following in mind starting with,

– The need for armed security at JNF General Hospital was based on the murder of a young man in the vicinity of the hospital’s laboratory on June 20, 2017. There were several other incidents of violence at the JNF General Hospital, including a prior shooting incident in September 2014.

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– The Police High Command had indicated to the Cabinet that the Police Force could not provide the required security at the health facility due to a workforce shortage. (The Police High Command would have also given Cabinet input on the Terms of Reference (TORs) for procuring the security services.)

– In addition to Night Watch Security, several other security firms were contacted to bid. Firms had to be able to supply armed security. Most were unable to meet this requirement.

– Diamond Security was also invited to tender on the supply of security services at the JNF General Hospital.

The reports have stated that the procurement information indicates a satisfactory procurement process and the proper awarding of the contract between the Ministry of Health and Night Watch Security.

During his statement, PM Drew’s suggested that there was some level of impropriety about the awarding of the contract is quite false and misleading. 

Ultimately, “The termination is seen as nothing other than the Drew administration’s continued, sustained and deliberate programme of VICTIMIZATION where scores of persons have been targeted due to nothing less than their perceived political allegiance and support of opposition parties”, said reports.

 

Tariq Saeed

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