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Post Office bids to block MyBermudaPost judicial review

The Government has moved to block a judicial review into how it signed a controversial deal without putting the contract out to tender.

The Cabinet Office ministry signed a deal with Florida-based shipper Access USA through the Post Office in May, 2021, promising Bermuda shoppers cheap rates for shipping goods in from overseas.

But local couriers complained that the deal was signed before a Request For Proposal was issued inviting Bermuda-based shippers to submit bids.

In November, the Supreme Court granted Bermudian shippers Mailboxes Unlimited leave to appeal against the contract.

Mailboxes Unlimited had earlier asked the Government for details of the contract, and argued that had an RFP been issued, it would have considered submitting a bid.

At a hearing yesterday, attorney Eugene Johnston, representing the Minister for the Cabinet office, argued that the judicial review was issued in error.

Mr Johnston claimed that Mailboxes Unlimited did not have sufficient standing to call for a review, and that it had done so after the deadline had passed.

Mr Johnston told Puisne Judge Larry Mussenden that Mailboxes had to demonstrate that there had been a grave breach of the tendering process.

But he pointed out that, had the company believed that the tendering process was faulty, it could have submitted a complaint to the Government’s director of procurement.

He also dismissed suggestions that Mailboxes would have won the contract had it submitted a bid. He claimed that the company did not have an online presence or a US warehouse and so would not have been successful.

And he also questioned whether Mailboxes would have submitted a bid had it known about the project.

He noted that when the Government had sent out a Request for Information, the company did not respond.

He said: “If they are opposed to the Government competing with private business, why would they then facilitate that?”

Peter Sanderson, the lawyer representing Mailboxes, acknowledged that the company did not respond to a Request For Information – but pointed out that an RFI had nothing to do with the tendering process.

He dismissed claims that Mailboxes could not submit a competitive bid, saying that it had a warehouse in New Jersey and would have been able to set up an online presence very quickly.

He said: “If there had been an open process, the appellant would most likely have made a bid.”

Mr Mussenden reserved judgment.

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Published May 04, 2022 at 7:45 am (Updated May 04, 2022 at 7:45 am)

Post Office bids to block MyBermudaPost judicial review

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