Controversy shrouds shipment of Cuban cement

Controversy shrouds shipment of Cuban cement
Published: 12 October 2007

Controversy and uncertainty now shroud the impending arrival of a shipment of cement from Cuba to ease the shortage in Jamaica.

Word out of Havana is that the Jamaican government has cancelled the shipment, but Industry and Commerce Minister Karl Samuda says this is not so.

Mr. Samuda revealed that the price tag on the shipment of cement from Cuba is too high.

He argued that at that cost it would neither be feasible, affordable nor marketable on local soil.

The Minister says he has formally conveyed this information to the Cuban Ambassador with whom he has been holding discussions on the matter.

He said the Jamaican government is now awaiting word from the Cuban authorities.

He expressed hope that the situation would be resolved in the shortest possible time but asserts that the local construction industry would not benefit from the current price the Cuban’s plan to sell the cement.

And in response to reports that Cuban authorities were furious over Jamaica’s decision to cancel the shipment of cement, Mr. Samuda said there was no basis for this claim.

He said arrangements to dispatch a ship to fetch the cement had been canceled and not the shipment.

The Minister said the shipment was not ready for Friday’s scheduled date and the Jamaican government would not allow the ship to lay idle on Cuban shores indefinitely.

He asserts that as soon as all the arrangements are in place the ship will be sent to Cuba to fetch the cement.