False claims suggesting the improper awarding of a security contract at the JNF General Hospital under the previous Team Unity administration by Prime Minister and Minister of Health Dr. Hon. Terrance Drew are being flatly and resolutely denied by former Minister of State in the Ministry of Health, Hon. Wendy Phipps.
In an interview conducted on Saturday, January 28, 2023 by WINN FM’s Devonne Cornelious, PM Drew announced that the security contract at the JNF General Hospital – which was awarded to Night Watch Security since 2018 – will be terminated as at the end of March, some 18 months before the official end of the contract. PM Drew stated that the contract was improperly awarded without proper procurement procedures. He further suggested that the contract was basically handed to the firm without the opportunity for other firms to have access to submit bids for the said contract.

Former Minister of Health, Hon. Wendy Phipps has however indicated that in the matter of the awarding of 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. The former Minister added that in this procurement matter – as in all other procurement matters of the Ministry of Health during her tenure – the Ministry of Finance would have consistently guided the Ministry of Health straight up until the contract was awarded to the successful bidder. As such, records of this procurement matter, for which Prime Minister Dr Drew has spoken so erroneously, should be readily available from the Ministry of Finance. A file on the JNF General Hospital’s security contract should also be housed in the Ministry of Health. That Prime Minister Drew is both Minister of Health and Minister of Finance makes his baseless allegations all the more unfortunate, for he ought to have known that the procurement process had been properly done. One hopes that he genuinely did not know and he is urged to clarify the matter by making a simple telephone call to the appropriate personnel in either Ministry.
The procurement and the contract award were pursued with the following in mind:

1) 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.

2) 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 manpower shortage. (The Police High Command would have also given to Cabinet input on the Terms of Reference (TORs) for the procurement of the security services.)

3) 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.

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

Given the serious imperative for armed security for JNF General Hospital, the procurement clearly indicated that it would have had to be entered into on a trial basis, in order for Cabinet, and the Ministries of Health and Finance to ascertain that the successful bidder could ably provide the required services – particularly in light of the high cost of the 24-hour, round-the-clock security that was being requested.

The information provided to this media house clearly shows that there was a satisfactory process of procurement and the proper awarding of the contract between the Ministry of Health and Night Watch Security.

Night Watch Security’s contract was properly and satisfactorily awarded.

PM Drew’s suggestion that there was some level of impropriety with regard to the awarding of the contract is quite false and misleading. The termination is being 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.

Since the engagement of Night Watch Security at the JNF General Hospital there has been NO major incident and certainly NO MURDER has occurred on the grounds of the hospital. Their services have been nothing short of exemplary. Therefore, their termination cannot be described as anything less than pure and blatant VICTIMIZATION.

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