A shipment of cement being unloaded at the Caribbean Cement Company’s Rockfort pier.
Some 80,000 bags of cement arrived in the island from Venezuela yesterday (May 22), and will be distributed to local hardware and retail merchants, Information and Development Minister, Senator Colin Campbell has said.
Minister Campbell, who was speaking at the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, said the imported cement "should bring some measure of ease for the time being" to the hardware distributive trade, which has been beset with a severe shortage of the product, following the disruption in cement production at the Caribbean Cement Company in March.
"We expect that [the received cement] will go out to the hardware stores and that there will be some easing of the crisis at the retail level," he informed, noting that to date, only the major government projects have been receiving steady supplies of cement from the Cement Company’s Rockfort plant.
Meanwhile, the Information Minister told journalists that Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller had scheduled a meeting with representatives of Caribbean Cement Company, to detail "the expectations of government at this particular time, both in terms of their local production situation as well as importation of cement from any of their affiliated companies in the Caribbean, where they may have excess supplies."
He further informed that Minister of Industry, Commerce, Science and Technology (with Energy), Phillip Paulwell, had convened a meeting with representatives of the construction industry, hardware distributors and importers.
Based on a schedule provided to Minister Paulwell, Mr. Campbell said, it was expected that the industry would issue a statement.
As for the short-term prospects of improving the shortage of cement, the Information Minister said, "we have hopes for an ease in the entire situation sometime in the middle of June."