UDC COMMITTED TO TRANSPARENCY - Public assured that Procurement Process Above Board
Kingston, Jamaica | June 24, 2020: The Urban Development Corporation (UDC) notes, with concern, the articles ‘DownSound has big plans for Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex’ and 'JHTA, MoBay Chamber back DownSound's Catherine Hall lease bid', published in the Jamaica Observer on Sunday 31 May and Sunday 21 June 2020 respectively. The UDC seeks to define its procurement processes to ensure clarity for the public as the Corporation takes very seriously its mandate related to the real estate with which it has been entrusted. The UDC also wants to reassure the public that it continues to maintain the highest level of transparency in its public procurement processes.
The Corporation is guided by the Policy Framework and Procedures Manual for the Divestment of Government-owned lands (2015) as, by virtue of its own legislation, holds and manages real estate on behalf of the GOJ. This Policy Framework was created “to harmonize the various mechanisms and procedures … in several public sector entities, which are custodians of government lands.” It secures transparency and efficiency in the process by which government-owned lands are divested by public sector entities. The Corporation, as a major custodian of government-divested real estate, is also mandated to adhere to its accompanying guiding principles. The Policy makes clear, the steps regarding the various Modalities of Divestment, including RFPs. These are Advertising, Opening, Evaluation, Approvals, Awarding of Contract and Legal Documentation. Further to this, the Modalities of Divestment, point 2.2.4 states that “The land divestment process shall be based on a system of equity, accountability, integrity and transparency.”
The RFP to lease, develop and manage the Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex in Montego Bay was advertised in daily newspapers on February 23, 2020 with a deadline of March 26, 2020. This deadline was extended to May 14, 2020 to accommodate the GOJ lockdown of St. Catherine, which affected UDC staff who manage the procurement process. This extension was also published in daily newspapers and on the Corporation’s social media. The process is now at the evaluation stage, in keeping with the guidelines of the Policy Framework.
The Corporation advises therefore, that no selection has been made from among the qualified bidders who responded to the RFP. Further to which, it must be noted that the UDC reserves the right to withdraw this opportunity at any time. It also reserves the right to not accept the highest or any offer submitted.
Finally, UDC also wishes to clarify the incorrect and potentially misleading observation that “The Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex is sitting (there) all year doing absolutely nothing.” The Corporation can confirm that the Entertainment Complex is host to several annual events including, but not limited to the one featured in the articles. UDC continues its strategic development work in the city of Montego Bay. Its flagship project, Closed Harbour Beach Park continues to progress while works to the Groynes are being advanced.