A house at Portland Cottage in Clarendon, Jamaica, which was built with cement from a faulty batch, being demolished yesterday. The Carib Cement Company says it recalled 500t of the product after a batch was found to have ’false setting characteristic’ or premature hardening. Problems with the supply of cement surfaced early last week when bulk users reported unsatisfactory results in the setting of poured concrete. "On discovering the problem, the company immediately contacted the various customers who purchased this product and initiated a recall of the batch of cement. All customers that were contacted were advised not to use the product," the cement company said in a statement issued through its publicist.
The cement company’s statement came shortly after the Jamaica Labour Party’s spokesperson on industry Shirley Williams called on the company to issue a public advisory, asking persons who purchased the affected batch of cement to immediately discontinue use until the Jamaica Bureau of Standards verified the quality of the product.
In the meantime, president of the Incorporated Masterbuilders Association of Jamaica (IMAJ), Michael Archer, said the defective cement had caused a shutdown on many work sites across the island. "There is a shutdown of all major bulk users as we speak," he said. The IMAJ, he said, has since met with Commerce, Science and Technology Minister Phillip Paulwell to discuss the cement problem.
Archer said major suppliers of bulk concrete - Premix, Ashtrom, E Phil and Sons and Islandwide Concrete Company Limited (ICCL) - were requested by the Cement Company to cease using shipments of their product until further tests had been conducted by the company.
Meanwhile, the cement company’s marketing manager, Alice Hyde, said the company had asked customers who used any of the bad cement to submit their claims to the company. According to Hyde, one batch of cement produced last week Thursday and Friday was found to be defective and was recalled by the company. She added that sales were immediately suspended while detailed process checks were carried out.
But in spite of the furore, the Jamaica Bureau of Standards yesterday gave its stamp of approval to the cement produced by the cement company. "In the wake of recent allegations about the quality of cement being produced at the Rockfort plant and that substandard cement is being dumped on the market. the cement that the Bureau has tested has passed minimum strength requirements. The tests that we have done have not substantiated these claims," said Allan Brooks, head of communication at the Bureau. Brooks added that the Bureau took note of the defective batch and the subsequent treatment of the problem by the cement company. (Jamaica Observer).