ManxTaxPayer Posted December 9, 2015 Share Posted December 9, 2015 ‘I honestly don’t think we could have said “yes or no” any sooner.’ That’s what Department of Economic Development chief executive Chris Corlett told a Tynwald scrutiny committee as he was questioned over why the plug could not have been pulled any earlier on plans to stage a TT world series. Economic Development Minister Laurence Skelly MHK announced in October that the high risk world series plan was being shelved. The total bill for the doomed project has topped £332,000 but the Minister has insisted it had been a ‘valuable exercise’. Giving evidence before the economic policy review committee Mr Skelly was questioned over the departmental meeting on September 29 when the decision to scrap the project was made. Committee chairman Michael Coleman asked: ‘You do not consider that at any time before September 29 you could have made a “no-go” decision?’ DED’s chief exective Chris Corlett said three firms had been shortlisted but one pulled out. The two remaining bidders had put in six figure sums to prepare for their bids. ‘I honestly don’t think we could have said “yes or no” any sooner,’ he said. Mr Coleman asked if concerns had been raised about continuing the project before that departmental meeting. Mr Skelly replied that ‘questions were always there’ and one topic had been about ‘dilution’ of the local TT event. ‘We did not want to dilute the product. It was very critical we didn’t take away from the golden goose which is what we’ve got here,’ he said. For that reason any events in a world series would have taken place in Equatorial or Southern Hemisphere jurisdictions that were far enough away not to impact on the local event. Mr Skelly was asked what it would take to ‘unshelve’ a TT world series. He told the committee if the economic and fiscal benefits could be evidenced, and the event was introduced on a staged basis, it could be achieved. The Minister said: ‘I do believe we made the right decision at that particular time. I feel a TT series still has merits. ‘However, we want to focus solely on local events. I believe there is still significant growth to be obtained.’ Committee chairman Mr Coleman was highly critical that minutes of the meeting of September 29 had not been provided as requested until late the previous afternoon. ‘It could be regarded as discourteous to this committee and Tynwald,’ he said. ‘I actually put it down as “contemptuous”.’ Both Mr Skelly and Mr Corlett apologised. ‘It was simply our failing,’ said the Minister, explaining there had been issues with staff absences. A new procurement process has begun to find a private sector partner to grow the TT, the Manx Grand Prix and Classic TT. The two witnesses were questioned over the inclusion of members of DED staff in the original bids. Mr Corlett said that as part of the aim to slim down government, the tender process involved transferring some specialist staff to the private organisation that won the bid. A small number of senior officers were involved in the evaluation process and the junior officers who could have been transferred were ‘in no way part of the procurement process,’ he said. The process had been robust, he said. A Chinese wall had been put up and there was ‘no one individual who could have materially changed the outcome.’ Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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