Saint Lucia Observes Second Meeting Of PJCPP

Titus Preville, Director of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) Unit.
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St. Lucia – The CARICOM Permanent Joint Council on Public Procurement (PJCPP) convened its second meeting in Saint Lucia to advance discussions on the protocol governing public procurement in the CSME. While Saint Lucia has not yet signed the protocol, it participated as an observer during the meeting, signaling its interest and commitment to the deliberations.

Titus Preville, Director of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) Unit.

Saint Lucia played host to a pivotal meeting of the CARICOM Permanent Joint Council on Public Procurement (PJCPP) on April 18 to 19, 2024, held at the Finance Administrative Centre in Pointe Seraphine, Castries.

Titus Preville, Director of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) Unit, highlighted the significance of the gathering, noting that the PJCPP would focus on adopting its rules of procedure. Additionally, the meeting aimed to approve proposals encompassing rules, guidelines, norms, and standards outlined in the protocol for administering public procurement. Furthermore, the PJCPP intended to scrutinize its work programme for the period spanning 2024 to 2026, along with proposals for integrating E-Procurement into the Community Public Procurement Notice Board.

“At the moment seven member states Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname have signed the protocol on public procurement and the declaration to provisionally apply the protocol since it was approved by the Conference of Heads of Government in St. Kitts and Nevis in 2019. Of the seven Barbados and Belize have moved to ratify the protocol. In keeping therefore with article 36 of the protocol, once at least 5 member states have signed the protocol and the declaration to provisionally apply the protocol, the protocol is determined to be provisionally applied among these parties. As a consequence of that provisional application of the protocol, under article 30 of the protocol the permanent joint council can be established.”

Francis Fontenelle, Permanent Secretary in the Department of Finance, acknowledged that while Saint Lucia has not yet signed the protocol, the country has made significant strides in modernizing its procurement reform processes. He noted that Saint Lucia has introduced a new Public Procurement Act and accompanying regulations, as well as standardized tender documents to streamline compliance. Additionally, an E-Procurement Platform has been implemented to enhance accessibility, record-keeping, and reporting, aligning with parallel efforts within the CSME.

“We are very grateful that we are afforded observer status to the functioning of the Permanent Joint Council. This affords us insight into the direction in which the concept of regionally integrated public procurement is headed. We wish to recognize the contributions made by the CARICOM Secretariat and by the CSME Unit to the development of public procurement in the region.”

The Permanent Joint Council, consisting of Senior Trade and Public Procurement Specialists from member states, is tasked with implementing the provisions outlined in the community protocol on public procurement. This council holds the responsibility for overseeing the execution of the protocol’s mandates and regularly reports to the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on the protocol’s performance.

“Now is the time for the remaining CARICOM, CSME Member States to sign the protocol and be part of the design of the framework of what will govern the parties to the protocol in the future,” said Preville.

“We will continue to pursue some internal steps to ensure that the policies are sufficiently understood and accepted prior to assimilation into our policy framework. In essence, we want all concerned parties to be comfortable that this is acceptable to us and that it is not being adopted solely to meet an external requirement,” Fontenelle said.

Under the 11th European Development Fund, the European Union persists in its support for the enhancement of public procurement within the CSME, bolstering the Framework for CARICOM Integration and Cooperation Processes Programme. The recent hybrid meeting held in Saint Lucia marked the second gathering of the Permanent Joint Council on Public Procurement, signaling continued efforts towards strengthening collaboration and progress in this critical area.

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