– Cabinet Secretary
“Guyana and other CARICOM States contend that the ability of TCL, the regional supplier, to adequately and reliably service the needs of the region is inadequate.” – Dr. Roger Luncheon
WITH the demand for cement in Guyana and across the Caribbean region at “an all time high”, questions have been raised about the ability of regional supplier, Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL) to meet these rising demands.
Head of the Presidential Secretariat (HPS) Dr. Roger Luncheon yesterday bluntly declared that “TCL cannot perform to the expectations of the region (as) they cannot meet the region’s demand.”
Speaking to reporters at his weekly post-Cabinet news briefing at the Office of the President, Shiv Chanderpaul Drive, Georgetown, Dr. Luncheon said these developments associated with the provision of cement by TCL to the local market are “not new and are not unique to Guyana.”
He pointed out that right across the Caribbean, the demand for cement is at an “all time high”.
“Guyana and other CARICOM States contend that the ability of TCL, the regional supplier, to adequately and reliably service the needs of the region is inadequate,” he declared.
The Cabinet Secretary recalled that since the Administration moved to reinstitute the Common External Tariff (CET) on cement from non-CARICOM states in accordance with the recent ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), reports have been surfacing more and more of TCL’s inability to meet its contractual and other obligations currently on the domestic scene.
Further, he stated that questions have been raised about the technical standards of the cement produced by TCL, and by extension, its local subsidiary, TCL Guyana Incorporated (TGI).
“Since the resort to litigation and the steps taken by the Guyanese administration in accordance with rulings, reports have been surfacing more and more of TCL’s inability to meet its contractual and other obligations,” Luncheon told reporters.
“Currently, on the domestic scene, the technical standards of their supplies have, and are, being questioned and to some extent that has led to delays in meeting their contractual commitment to end users; that of course, is impacting negatively on logistics,” he pointed out.
He noted that even with its commitment now limited to bagging and distribution, this is what TCL offers Guyana in the context of the agreement that brought the Trinidadian company here.
“It is now just bagging and distribution and even with just those sole commitments, the concerns about TCL’s ability continue unabated,” he reiterated.
Replying to questions, Luncheon said: “I am advising that there are questions about the quality, the standards.”
“There are those who are involved in producing cement for commercial purposes…and we are getting reports of problems – it is not new,” Luncheon declared.
“I think if you were to go and examine the cement that was used in the construction of the stadium, you would find that quality was of prime importance for the contractor – (and) I am advised TCL cement was not used,” he asserted.