Kaieteur News news item. October 15, 2009. Guyana fails again at CCJ… as Court dismisses application for extension of time to comply.
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) yesterday dismissed Guyana’s application for an Extension of Time as it relates to the country’s compliance with the Court’s order to reinstate the Common External Tariff (CET) on cement from non-CARICOM sources.
In considering the application for Contempt of Court by Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL) and subsidiary TCL Guyana Inc. (TGI) against the Government of Guyana, the Judges directed that Guyana file its arguments in opposition to TCL’s application within 14 days.
Following that process TCL must file its response within seven days and Guyana has been directed to pay that company’s cost of filing the application.
The CCJ also stated that it regards the contempt matter as a serious and complicated issue and that it has to be heard in open Court.
On Monday, President Bharrat Jagdeo voiced his concern that the Chairman of the Trust Fund of the CCJ, Dr Rollin Bertrand, is also the chief executive officer of TCL which recently won a challenge it brought against the Guyana Government over the importation of cement.
Jagdeo’s statement came during a press briefing where he was asked about Government’s refusal to comply with the decision of the CCJ to re-impose the CET on cement imports.
The CET regulates trade with the 15-nation CARICOM, dictating that a product should not be imported from outside the bloc, once companies within the region can meet demands.
With Georgetown’s failure to comply with the Court’s August 20 decision to re-impose the CET on cement imports within 28 days, TCL and its local subsidiary again dragged the Guyana Government before the CCJ, saying the Jagdeo administration should be charged for contempt.
Jagdeo had confirmed media reports that CARICOM Heads of Government discussed Dr Bertrand’s position and cited it as a conflict of interest, since he has to be in regular contact with the Court.
The CCJ had ruled that the Government of Guyana was in breach of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas by failing to maintain and implement the CET on cement.
Additionally, the Guyana Government was ordered to pay two-thirds of TCL costs. When Guyana failed to carry out the court’s ruling, TCL and its local subsidiary approached the court again.