The main aspect of the bill preoccupying civil society, business organisations and even the Office of Procurement Regulation (OPR) itself, is Clause 5, which removes legal, medical, financial, accounting and auditing services — as well as any others so deemed by the Minister of Finance — from the remit of the procurement regulator.

In a country where citizens have perceived successive governments to be corrupt (Trinidad and Tobago ranked 85th in Transparency International’s 2019 Corruption Perception Index, with a score of 40 out of 100), the fear is that this amendment effectively paves the way for instances of corruption to occur in government-to-government contracts, or in agreements between the state and international financial organisations.

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