JGA’s HeroesWeekend ClassicThe Jamaica Golf Association’s (JGA) Heroes Weekend Classic will be held on October 17 and 18 at Sandals Golf and Country Club.Sandals Ocho Rios will be offering a special rate of US$300 per couple per night for golfers who are entered in the JGA event. The entry fee is $8,000 for members and $9,000 for non-members. One day fee is $5,000 while the fee for juniors is $4,000.The cost for shared cart and caddy is US$27.50 per day. For walkers, the caddy fee is US$20.Antigua’s Joseph among winnersEDMONTON, Canada (CMC):Teenaged Antiguan jockey Kwame Joseph was among the winners as Caribbean riders continued to dominate at Northlands Park at midweek.The 17-year-old Joseph, in his first stint on the international circuit, won the final race of the eight-race card with 15-1 outsider Kaitlans Song.He was joined on the winners’ list by four-time defending champion, Barbadian Rico Walcott, who captured race three with favourite Wild Romeo, and Jamaican Trevor Simpson, who won race one with 4-1 bet Im Hott Ur Nott.Veteran Barbadian rider Desmond Bryan took race five with 4-1 choice Montana Skies, while fellow national Damario Bynoe scored an upset in race six with rank 60-1 outsider Gold Kiss.With just over two weeks left in the Northlands Park season, Walcott is coasting towards his fifth consecutive title with 127 wins, with Scott Williams sitting second on 68.Jamaican Tony Maragh is third on 48 but just narrowly ahead of Shannon Beauregard on 46.Switzerland qualify for Euro 2016LONDON (AP):Switzerland will return for the European Championship for the first time since co-hosting the tournament eight years ago after thrashing San Marino 7-0 yesterday with seven different scorers.As the Swiss secured second place, Group E leaders England made it nine wins out of nine in qualifying, with Theo Walcott and Raheem Sterling scoring in a 2-0 win over Estonia.With one qualifier remaining, Switzerland have an unassailable five-point advantage over Slovenia, who were held 1-1 by Lithuania.England are the only team with a 100 per cent record in qualifying for next year’s finals and should be top-seeded in the draw.Spain on a cruiseLOGRONO, Spain (AP):Santi Cazorla and Paco Alcacer scored two goals each to help Spain beat Luxembourg 4-0 yesterday and secure a spot for the holders in next year’s European Championship.Cazorla scored in the 42nd and 85th minutes, while Alcacer netted in the 67th and 80th to give Spain 24 points in Group C, five more than Slovakia and Ukraine. Slovakia lost 1-0 at home to Belarus, while Ukraine defeated Macedonia 2-0.In the final round, Ukraine host Spain who will be looking for a third consecutive European title in France next year, and Slovakia play at Luxembourg.The top two teams from the nine groups qualify automatically. The best third-place team also advances, while the other eight meet in a playoff.
… Govt’s excuses of emergencies not good enoughMassive amounts of money have been expended by Government on purchasing drugs with no pre-qualification of suppliers or public tendering, thus the Transparency Institute of Guyana Incorporated (TIGI) is questioning the continuous bypassing of the established system of purchasing drugs by using the excuse that “emergency shortages” necessitate this action.TIGI head, Dr Troy Thomas, has said the system by which Government is procuring drugs is engaging the attention of TIGI. He described this system as “simply not good enough” for a government to have so much emergency drug shortages.“Every so often, ever so often, we are hearing about some emergency necessitating single sourcing or no open tendering; and that’s not good enough,” he said. “I think we need to be planning more ahead, to arrest these situations so that (they do not) happen so often.”Dr Thomas has stressed that good reasons exist for the systems of open tendering and pre-qualification; and he has emphasised that these systems are in place to ensure Guyana gets value for sums of tax payers’ money expended.TIGI Head, Dr Troy Thomas“Procurement practice for anything that involves spending from ‘the public purse’ should include open tendering. So if that was not done in the case that you are talking about, then I would have to question the level of transparency (involved),” he told this publication.“You need to have open tendering; there’s good reason for that. One, it’s to ensure that you get the best deal. But apart from that, it keeps everything on top of the table. When you’ve got that kind of approach (emergency procurement), it opens up avenues for all kinds of things to happen,” he explained.According to Dr. Thomas, an investigation would be necessary before blame could be ascribed to specific personnel for the drug shortages and prevailing emergencies. But he noted that official admission that the system of public tendering and pre-qualification had not been followed would cast some amount of doubt on any procurement.“(The fact) that the mechanism was not followed would cast some doubt on what took place. So I would urge transparency in the operations, and I would question why it seems that so many emergencies are popping up. Is it a matter of planning?” he elaborated.When the Peoples Progressive Party fielded questions to the ministers of Public Health and Communities in the National Assembly on May 8, Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan revealed that, in nine out of Guyana’s 10 regions, there had been no public tendering for drugs and medical supplies between January 2016 and February 2017.In addition, in none of the regions was the pre-qualification process followed. All purchases had been made under the “emergency” system.Opposition Parliamentarian Juan Edghill, who had assisted in fielding the questions, had noted that 77 per cent of the total sum allocated for the acquisition of drugs for the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC) had been expended.Edghill had also noted that when Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence was asked about the amount of money spend on drugs and medical supplies for the Georgetown Public Hospital for January and February 2017, it was revealed that some $2 billion had already been expended. This sum represents almost 77 per cent of the total sum allocated for the procurement of drugs for the year.Edghill had, however, pointed out that among the questions posed to the ministers was whether any of the supplier companies had been pre-qualified; and he noted that the answer was “no”.Pre-qualification is an important part of ensuring quality assurance when works are done or goods are supplied to Government. In this instance, contractors are usually invited to apply to the NPTAB to be pre-qualified or placed on a shortlist for participation in future projects, according to World Health Organisation standards.In the case of drugs and medical supplies, companies are expected to have adequate warehousing facilities, staff and security, in addition to appropriate certification and impeccable sanitation.EmergenciesThen Public Health Minister in 2016, Dr George Norton, had stated that changes in the procurement system were likely the cause for the drug shortages being experienced at certain public health facilities across Guyana.The Public Health Ministry has reportedly introduced a new system for procuring drugs and medical supplies, wherein each region is required to submit to central government a list of drugs needed and the total sum required to make the purchases. Money would then be warranted back to the Public Health Ministry from the regions to facilitate a centralised procurement.