The island’s sole manufacturers representative body and one of its former member companies, are now engaged in a standoff, after parting ways in unpleasant circumstances.
Sales Director of Sunpower Hot Water Systems, Henry Jordan, told Barbados TODAY in an exclusive interview, that he pulled his company out of the Barbados Manufacturers Association last month because of the BMA’s “tardiness” in its efforts to have rescinded, a Peak Season Surcharge imposed by shippers on what is known as Less Than Container Loads.
Jordan explained that the newly-introduced LTCL, was imposed by the Caribbean Ship Owners Association, which is part of the South Florida Shipping Cartel, on importers who bring in half a container load, because they could not afford a full one.
He described the surcharge as unjustified, considering that data from the Barbados Port Inc., showed declining container tonnage out of North America since 2008.
The Sunpower sales head, who was also a member of the BMA’s Executive Council, its highest decision-making body, said the surcharge, which rose from US 16 cents to US 17 cents per cubit foot, was negatively impacting on small businesses like his. He said all this information was known to the BMA, the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and at the time, discussions were held on the matter.
He pointed out that the issue came back up again last year and the association’s council talked about it again.
“But no activity by the BMA was taken to work with authorities to rescind the PSS,” declared Jordan.
“In 2010-11, I was a council member and that is the highest post that you can serve in the BMA, so information would come to the council first and the council would discuss that and take appropriate steps and actions to work on a resolution in the interest of its members. This matter with the peak season surcharge was discussed since September 2010, and it was discussed when it came up a year later. And the question is, why do you have a 2012 peak season surcharge?” asked Jordan.
“They [BMA] were not effective in addressing this matter in a timely fashion,” he charged.
During the interview Jordan said he had just ended a telephone conversation with the BMA’s Executive Director, Bobby Mckay, and added: “Well, she [Bobby] told me she just came back from meeting people in the New Orleans and held discussions with the other lines and so on and so forth. I didn’t ask her what was the outcome of that. But she just held meetings, but matters like this should be viewed and taken very quickly in the national interest of Barbados, and they’ve handled this matter very poorly.
“By the way, I’m no longer a member of the BMA, I resigned last month. The company resigned because I don’t have time to waste with talk shops. I was a member two or three years. I don’t have a problem helping them work on a matter if it’s in the interest of two things: the country and my industry. But that’s as far as it goes.
“There is absolutely no justification based on the Port Authority’s figures that have shown a decline every year, successively for this to happen. There has been no involvement being brought to Minister [Denis] Kellman’s attention about it, and action taken by his department. This really is the responsibility of the BMA, especially knowing that the Democratic Labour Party has been speaking about the cost of living,” declared†Jordan.
When contacted, the BMA’s executive director told Barbados TODAY, she would first have to apprise herself of all the facts in order to make an informed comment. (EJ)