Regional cement giant Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL) and its Barbados-based subsidiary Arawak Cement Limited have filed legal action against the Government of Barbados, accusing it of contravening the rules governing the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy.
The disclosure was made on Tuesday night by Barbados Labour Party (BLP) leader Mia Mottley as she addressed a political meeting at Redman’s Village, St Thomas, in the lead up to the May 24 general election.
Mottley explained that the lawsuit was lodged last Friday with the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which, in its original jurisdiction, interprets and applies the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, which established CARICOM.
“These people are going in the original jurisdiction against the Government of Barbados and they are saying that we breached rules under the Treaty of Chaguaramas by unilaterally reducing the import duties on cement, the Common External Tariff, from 60 per cent to five per cent,” the BLP leader explained, adding that a request had been made for special leave, pursuant to Article 22 of the Revised Treaty and Article 10 (4) of the CCJ original jurisdiction rules.
Since the entry of the Mark Maloney-led Rock Hard Cement into the market in November 2015 the price of cement here has dropped by at least 30 per cent, with the former monopoly provider Arawak Cement trading words with and its competitor over the quality of their respective products.