PM rebukes Carib Cement

PM rebukes Carib Cement
Published: 01 October 2007

Jamaican Minister Bruce Golding Thursday night chided the Caribbean Cement
Company for what he described as a ’less than encouraging corporate
behaviour’ in implementing an 8.5 per cent price increase following a
production shortfall.

But it was the decision by the island’s sole manufacturer of cement to
export cement to Suriname after the company told the nation that it could
not supply the local demand, that truly concerned the prime minister.

Golding, speaking at the official opening of the Tenth Home and Hardware
Show, put on by the Hardware Merchants Association (HMA) at the National
Arena, said that the cement manufacturer exported 2700t of cement to
Suriname even after announcing its inability to supply the local market.
Carib Cement, added Golding, did not advise the Ministry of Industry and
Commerce of its plan to export the product.

"In the midst of the shortage of cement and the significant implication that
has to the economy, the company found it possible and necessary to dispatch
yesterday (Wednesday) a shipment of 2700t of cement to Suriname,
again without advising the minister in their meeting with him last week,"
Golding said.

In his first official presentation after the opening of Parliament on
Thursday, the prime minister said that he has advised the minister of
industry and commerce, Karl Samuda, to meet with Carib Cement in order to
establish the parameters of its relationship with government.

In the meantime, in order to ensure stability in the market, Golding said
that 100,000 tonnes of cement would be imported in the "coming weeks".
Independent suppliers, he said, had given a commitment of 60,000t
while a further 40,000t would be brought in from Cuba. Also, the cement
company has imported 9,000t of cement from Colombia, and advised that Sharpe
should be in the island by the week of October 7.