Questions in the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) swirled around Market Me’s unsolicited proposal and the concept it had presented to the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
Market Me made an unsolicited proposal in 2016 for a contract valued at $15.9 million. Under Volume 2, Section 1.1.4(e) of the Handbook of Public Sector procurement procedures an unsolicited proposal may be considered by a procuring entity if:
- It demonstrates a unique and innovative concept or demonstrates a unique capability of the contractor
- Offers a concept or service not otherwise available to the government
- Does not resemble the substance of a recent, current, or pending competitive tender.
When asked, “What was the unique and innovative concept along with Market Me’s distinct capabilities to execute the said concept?” Permanent Secretary, Dunstan Bryan replied:
“I can only as a civil servant and as the bureaucrat determine my response based on the documentation that we have and the process and we move by the process as civil servants,” he said. “The process is that the NCC- National Contracts Commission agreed with the Ministry in terms of the fact that it was an unsolicited proposal.”
In response, Member of Parliament, Alando Terrelonge questioned why this information was needed. According to him, the NCC must have seen some benefits to hiring Market Me.
Terrelonge said, “I am not quite sure why anyone would wish to badger you to try to explain why the National Contracts Commission would have deemed it important and relevant to the people of Jamaica, to the health sector to have awarded this contract. I think it should be taken for a given that the contract was deemed unique, the concept or service in terms of the persons who had to monitor they had the requisite skills, there was nothing that looked like it before.”
But upon examining the first contract between Market Me and the Health Ministry, issues with the contract date was discovered.
PAAC member, Mikael Phillps added to the dialogue, pointing out, “It says here January 27”. In response Permanent Secretary, Bryan says this date was an error as negotiations should have ended in January but instead were concluded in June.
Ownership of the tagline and logo, “Jamaica Moves” was raised considering Market Me had registered the assets claiming the idea to have originated from the firm. Permanent Secretary, Bryan says the rights should be given to the Ministry of Health but it is now a legal matter.