Photo: (L-R) Kevin Arthurton from the Ministry of International Trade, Veronica Benedettelli from Erosupport and Derek Browne from the OTN/ CSME Unit.
Nationals will soon be able to sell goods, services regionally on web
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis will soon be able to provide goods and services on a web-based system that will allow them to place bids on work needed in other Caribbean countries.
Kevin Arthurton from the Ministry of International Trade explained that the National Procurement Notice Board was envisioned around 2000 to 2003. This procurement system is being realised with a two-day consultation workshop June 29-30 at the Ocean Terrace Inn (OTI) Conference Room.
“The system was designed to allow for member states to procure opportunities on a web-based system, which would allow other member states to see what [people] are offering,” said Arthurton, who is also one of the facilitators for the workshop. He added that this now sets a foundation for a supplier’s registry in each member state, hopefully another building block into E-tender, where people can submit bids to contracts available regionally.
“In the procurement system, there are procedures that you go through when you are trying to apply to get a contract or offer,” he explained. “It could be for products, goods, services, as a service provider, maybe a lawyer or whatever the case may be. It can be work on major projects such as roads, building airports, those kinds of things.”
The National Procurement Notice Board will allow suppliers to have this information readily available to them.
“You can see somebody, maybe from St. Kitts and Nevis, and would now have information about a contract that is available maybe in Jamaica or Trinidad and who to apply to,” he said.
Thursday’s workshop was for those who would be populating the notice board, including various government ministries and departments.
On Day Two of the workshop, there were consultations geared specifically to the private sector suppliers who would be the end users. They were informed on their recourse of what to do as the project also comes with procedural documents and standard bidding documents.
“Basically, it’s going to be more transparent and more predictable in how you go about utilising the services,” said Arthurton, while he encouraged nationals to take advantage of the system.
“We are limiting ourselves with thinking that the only market we have is St. Kitts and Nevis,” he said. “There are other markets out there that we can be competitively qualified in. I know most [people] like to say that they are going to look out for their own, but we also have to think outside of St. Kitts and Nevis if we are going to grow and be competitive. You do not necessarily have to move. You can do the job here and submit the product to another country.”
This initiative falls under the CARICOM Treaty of Chaguaramas, which establishes the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). This is one of the initiatives that came out of the CSME, which is to have a free procurement space.
Derek Browne from the OTN/ CSME Unit and Veronica Benedettelli from Erosupport facilitated the workshops with Arthurton.