Manufactured consent is supported by “…effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function by reliance on market forces, internalized assumptions, and self-censorship, and without overt coercion…“.
The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act (PPDPPA or The Act) was approved by Parliament in 2015 and amended three times by this administration. The Regulations to The Act were approved by Parliament in January 2022, so the stage was set for implementation of this important law. This series deals with the intentional series of delays now emerging from our AG and the Judiciary.
Our Judiciary made formal objections to The Act, which was already approved by Parliament. It is a piercing irony that those submissions were unsupported by any citations or research, none whatsoever.
Professional Responsibility is one of the important lenses to examine the new Public Procurement law and the implementation challenges.
Grand Corruption is impossible without the active assistance, advice and scheming of Professionals — Lawyers, Bankers, Accountants, Engineers, Surveyors. The Thieves cannot function without the Professionals, after all, as the old saying goes: “The Upholder is worse than the Thief!” That old saying speaks to the particular responsibilities which are vested in the Professional Class.
These unacceptable delays in the proclamation of our Public Procurement law have all the ingredients of a Constitutional Imbroglio. Yes, that’s right, in amongst the protestations about Separation of Powers, we are witness to congosah and condescending Public Officials shafting the Public Interest.
When one speaks of Separation of Powers, the role and responsibilities of the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary are considered. Of course, the separation is not a perfect one, since there are areas of overlap in how these bodies operate. For instance, the Executive proposes annual funding for the Judiciary after consultation. That funding is only accessible after the national budget is approved by the Legislature, which then allows the allocated money to go to the Judiciary.
In the case of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act, the law was passed over 7 years ago in January 2015, during the PP administration. The PNM administration then amended the Act three times before the Regulations were agreed with the OPR and approved by the Parliament seven months ago, in January 2022. Those stages are further examples of overlap and they were all lawful. The last stage was legal and necessary, since the Ministry of Finance had to agree the Regulations with the OPR, before tabling those in Parliament for approval.
So what is this ongoing delay, now that all the legal and necessary steps have been taken?
The recent high-level of public concern over the SSA Amendment Bill was of limited concern to me, until I started listening properly. In the event, the proposed law was passed by the Parliament and there is some threat from the Opposition of a lawsuit to test its constitutionality. We will see.
Two very interesting stances surfaced during the heated debates and it is at these kind of moments that I sometimes think of our so-called political divide. Those were the Right to Privacy stance disclosed by the AG and the private briefing of Parliamentarians as a legislative tool.