jud lohmeyer

Guyana one laptop per family program – strike two! by jud lohmeyer

Toshiba T3200 laptop

toshiba t3200 - Image via Wikipedia

Strike Two – OLPF

Strike one, in case you missed it, was the refusal by the Chinese to fund HE‘s “transformational” ICT laptop scheme. This should have been game over but blatant election politics makes it impossible for HE to allow himself to look impotent in the face of the refusal of the Chinese to fund OLPF.

HE already can’t get the LCDS money out of Norway and the World Bank or get Amaila Falls Hydro funded. Sadly, Guyana is in no position to afford such a lavish ICT project. Mark my words, after the election, if there is one, fiscal reality will crash the gates of election politics and the GoG Treasury will be in serious trouble.

OLPF represents a few percent of the national budget of Guyana. There will be some serious cut backs in other areas to cover this little election ploy, after the election, of course.

Strike two is the rejection of the tender responses for laptops. This is no surprise if you are familiar with the ICT industry. Writing the specifications for a laptop tender is a very detailed process of creating a matrix that very narrowly defines the hardware and software required for the project. This is not something to be left to a couple outsiders winging it. Each specification must be boxed in by a series of other specifications to ensure that the bid equipment meets the project requirements. This didn’t happen. Creating their own new laptop drop specification and neglecting critical secondary specifications only demonstrated the ineptitude of the team assembling the tender.

The second challenge that the OLPF project faces is that there is no single organization in Guyana that can fulfill the requirements of such a large ICT project. The capability simply doesn’t exist in Guyana.

Our approach was to work with several suppliers to craft a complete solution across multiple organizations. This would spread revenue across multiple Guyanese companies and reduce the risks for both GoG and suppliers. You can create a hundred tenders but you can’t fill the capability gap. Again, experienced ICT staff would recognize this challenge and build a solution with what exists in Guyana not what they wish existed, if they even recognized the problem in the first place.

Strike three really should be the Office of the President’s resident pedophile using laptops insexchange. Here we all thought HE just wanted to get the PPP re-elected. It appears some of his team have other ideas on how to capitalize on the laptop distribution. While this is a personal and legal problem with HE’s staff, one HE has refused to address in the past, it does demonstrate how staff and party members plan to use the great laptop give-a-way to their personal advantage.

We can only hope that this latest set-back finally shuts down Huey and Duey in the Project Masquerade Office before they spend Guyana into insolvency.


6 thoughts on “Guyana one laptop per family program – strike two! by jud lohmeyer


    June 5, 2011 | By KNews | Filed Under Features / Columnists, Peeping Tom

    In an unprecedented development, the government called a press conference to announce that it was re-tendering for the supply of laptops for the One Laptop Per Family project (OLPF). Never before has the government sought to call a press conference to explain its decision as regards a public tender.
    Why would the government have to call a press conference to indicate that it is moving to re-tender? Could it be that the government is concerned about the publicity that this newspaper has been giving to the many controversial contracts awarded by the government over the years and wants to ensure that its flagship project in an election year does not attract the sort of adverse publicity that other projects and privatizations did? Has the government seen the wisdom in explaining it most recent decision?
    The media must stay on top of this decision to re-tender for the OLPF. There are a great many things that need confirmation and clarification.
    While, for example, the government indicates that there will be no major overhaul of the specifications of the laptops to be procured, nor, according to the same government, does the decision to re-tender indicate that there was anything defective about the original specifications, it has taken a decision to adjust the specifications.
    If this project was properly thought through in the first place, why would there have now arisen the need to change the specifications? The government insists that there will be no fundamental rewrite of the specifications, yet it says that among the possible revisions would be hardware changes and the software to be preloaded. It also says that it will amend the project to allow for a wide pool of bidders. How can these possible changes not be seen as a fundamental rewriting of the specifications? If that does not amount to a fundamental rewrite of the project, what does?
    The widening of the pool of bidders will almost certainly mean that provisions would be made to break the tender up into smaller slabs so that more persons could participate. This in itself constitutes a fundamental rewriting of the project, though not necessarily of the specifications.
    This is all the more reason why the media needs to keep on top of this story and to ascertain just what are the differences between the original specifications and what is likely to emerge when the project is re-tendered.
    In making the announcement about the tenders, the government indicated that two of the three bids were found to be substantially non-compliant, while the third was found to be compliant in most material respects.
    The media needs to ascertain just what were the aspects of the third bid that were not materially compliant, because this information was not provided. The company involved should be given an opportunity to defend itself.
    In its explanation, the government indicated that one of the bidders was found to be substantially non- compliant because when the checks were made on the manufacturers, the listed manufacturer indicated that the laptop was not a manufactured item from their plant. The bidder has since denied this, and it is therefore for the media to find out just who the government evaluators spoke to, to determine that this particular bid had problems in relation to the brand of laptop to be supplied.
    The second bid was reportedly found to be substantially non-compliant because the manufacturers of the computers to be supplied, under this bid, could neither confirm nor deny whether the commitments made in the bid were accurate. This is indeed a strange situation and again the media should ask the government who they spoke to, and should speak themselves to the manufacturer to make sure that what the government is saying is true.
    There was reportedly no reason given as to why the third bidder whose bid was found to be compliant in most material respects was rejected. This bidder has indicated that it may comment when it has more details.
    It does, however, seem very strange for that bidder to not be summoned to negotiations after it was found that its bid was compliant in almost all material respects. Surely whatever respects that it was not materially compliant could have been subject to negotiations rather than jeopardizing the entire OLPF project by going to re-tender.
    There is now a serious risk of default in this project. If it goes back to re-tender and there is once again no successful bidder, this would be the end of the project.
    In any event, the decision to re-tender may have already harmed the project. Those who have already bid may be unwilling to go back to tender because they would feel that the new pool of bidders would know what were their original bids, and this would place the original bidders at a disadvantage.
    The media needs to get to the bottom of just why some bids were found to be non-compliant. It needs to speak to the manufacturers who the governments said they spoke to. It would seem extremely strange that the manufacturers, who would be in a commercial relationship with the bidders, would provide information to the government unless this was authorized by the bidders. Two of the bidders have indicated that they were not contacted.
    There may be more in the mortar than on the pestle with this unprecedented decision of the government to explain why it is going to re-tender, and good investigative journalism could make this whole situation all the more interesting

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