Guernsey Press

Dissenting deputies try to block waste contract

A RACE is on between politicians who want to sign a new contract to process the island’s food waste and other deputies who are preparing a requete to stop them.

Deputy Carl Meerveld. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 32365816)

States’ Trading Supervisory Board president Peter Roffey told the Guernsey Press yesterday that he expected the contract to be signed ‘imminently’.

But the dissenting deputies, led by Carl Meerveld, wrote to the STSB last night demanding that it should hold off agreeing the contract if, as expected, the board intends to award it to a single company from the start of next year.

‘STSB should not sign a contract to provide one company with a monopoly and prevent or restrict other companies from competing.

‘It must not sign a contract which could end up costing the States more money,’ said Deputy Meerveld.

He and his allies hope to finalise their requete this week and publish it next week.

One of them, Deputy John Dyke, is drafting a proposal which could amend the law to allow parishes to give food waste to any contractor. Deputy Meerveld himself is working on an associated proposal which would instruct the STSB to promote competition in handling food waste.

Deputy Roffey revealed that his board was currently finalising the new contract and insisted it had no intention of delaying because of the need ‘to provide a sufficient lead in to ensure a smooth transition period’.

‘Deputy Meerveld has clearly sought to interfere in the current procurement of a food waste processing contract,’ said Deputy Roffey.

‘That is evident from the email received on 22 May, which inadvertently disclosed that Deputy Meerveld was actively colluding with one of the unsuccessful bidders, to advance their interests by exerting pressure on STSB in an underhand manner.

‘That was after Deputy Meerveld had been specifically advised, in response to a previous approach, that the procurement process was still live.’

Deputy Roffey also revealed that the unnamed company with which Deputy Meerveld was in contact, which was offering to use flies to break down food waste and produce fertiliser, came last in the procurement process for a new food waste processor.

‘All submissions were assessed by an independent third party subject matter expert. The company in question was not invited to tender for the contract as they were unable to demonstrate adequately the necessary expertise or experience nor the resilience or contingency required for a service the whole island is reliant on,’ said Deputy Roffey.

‘Overall, their submission scored lower than any other bidder, and our independent expert advisers also raised concerns around some of the environmental claims being made.’

Deputy Meerveld accused Deputy Roffey of distorting the facts.

‘It’s very important to understand that he has deliberately misrepresented what we are trying to do,’ said Deputy Meerveld.

‘We are not interfering in a procurement process. We accept the tender process and its outcome. We might disagree with aspects of how it was run and it’s reasonable to challenge and ask questions about that.

‘But what we are actually trying to prevent is the States establishing a de facto monopoly and protecting one company over others.

‘They should be not just allowing but promoting competition and freeing parishes to contract with the companies they want to contract with. STSB should not be excluding local companies from competing.’

The States meeting on 27 September is the earliest deputies would debate a requete submitted next week, but it is more likely it would be scheduled for consideration in October.