Saint Lucia
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Public Procurement Officers Receive Capacity Enhancement Training

Thirty procurement officers in the Government Service recently participated in a capacity-building workshop geared at improving competencies, efficiency, and productivity in the procurement of goods, services, and resources on behalf of the Government of Saint Lucia. 

Director of Procurement in the Department of Finance, Anthony Jean, said the training allowed participants to understand and utilize the provisions within the new procurement legislation, to practice better procurement skills to benefit of their agencies.

“It’s not enough that officers know what’s in the law.  It’s not purchasing or performing a procurement in compliance with the law, you want to be able to do it in a manner that really gets you what you want for your agency.”

Senior Consultant with Charles Kendall Partnership, Rob Thompson was one of the facilitators of the workshop.

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“I’ve been in procurement for 30 plus years, working with both the private sector and the public sector, but specializing in terms of public procurement and helping developing nations as well as European countries to interpret the regulations in a practical way, which will deliver good value for money procurement. But, still ensure compliance rather than having people focus purely and simply on compliance without thinking about it is good value in the end when they make their procurements.”

He stressed the important role procurement officer perform as procurement touches more of the government’s expenditure than any other function.

“If we get the procurement right, buying hospitals, buying roads, even buying office equipment or furniture, whatever you think the government needs, it has to be bought. And, that is why procurement is fundamentally one of the most important functions within government to deliver a good return for the investment that people make in the taxes that they pay,” Thompson said.

The International Tax Consultant implored participants to strive for value for money in the procurement process.

“The usual approach for people to take, because it’s the safe approach, is to buy the cheapest, the lowest price. What I am saying to them is its equally good value to buy one which has a better life cost than it is simply the initial purchase price. So, look at things over their life and sometimes it’s worth paying more to start off with because over its life it actually has a lower cost,” he added.

The takeaway for participants, he said, is that performing good procurement leads to good compliance with the standards and legislation. The week-long workshop at the Finance Administrative Building in Pointe Seraphine also involved participants from the audit department who reviewed public procurement.

Procurement has the largest share in government expenditure along with great exposure the risk of fraud, corruption, or other breaches of integrity.