Guyana says TCL not meeting expectations

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, October 30, 2009 – The Guyana government says regional cement company, Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL), is failing to meet the expectations of the Caribbean region at a time when demand is high.

That assessment was delivered yesterday by Cabinet Secretary, Dr Roger Luncheon who also called into question the quality of the company’s product.

“Guyana and other CARICOM states contend that the ability of TCL, the regional supplier, to adequately and reliably service the needs of the region is inadequate. They cannot meet the region’s demand,” he said, indicating that the demand for cement in the region is at an all time high.

Dr Luncheon told a post-Cabinet press briefing that since the Bharat Jagdeo administration moved earlier this month to reinstitute the Common External Tariff (CET) on cement from non-CARICOM states, in accordance with the recent ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), more and more reports have been surfacing about TCL’s inability to meet its contractual and other obligations currently on the domestic scene.

He added that questions have also been raised about the technical standards of the cement product by the company.

Dr Luncheon’s comments came two weeks after the Guyana government said it would abide by the CCJ’s order to reimpose the CET on cement imported from outside the region, even though it would have negative economic implications for the country.

After finding Guyana in breach of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas when it failed to apply the CET on cement imported from outside the region, the CCJ on August 20th gave the Jagdeo administration 28 days to re-establish it. But it failed to do so, and TCL filed a complaint before the Court.

The Guyana government appealed for more time before it had to start charging the tax, but the Court denied the request.