CCJ makes opinion known on TCL case – Nov 14th 2012
The Highest court in the Caribbean Caribbean Court of Justice has told Trinidad Cement Limited that the case brought against that company by the Caricom Competition Commission was properly before the CCJ. The Caricom Competition Commission is a body set up under the Caricom,s revised treaty of Chaguramas to do many things among them to ensure there is fair play in how Caribbean businesses operate and to investigate and make rulings in disputes between and among countries. It also has significant powers, having the power to summon persons before it, impose fines for breaches and issue cease orders if it finds companies in breach of fair play rules.
The grouse by the Caribbean’s largest cement company is that unknown to it the CCC conducted an investigation into TCL’s business practices and then called on TCL to answer charges before the said Commission which gets its power from the revised treaty of Chaguramas.
TCL applied to the CCJ saying that they were unfairly treated since the commission has no such power to conduct an investigation and to hold an enquiry and the CCJ has since said that the Commission has properly done what it did .But even as it made that ruling the CCJ has also cautioned the CCC to look at its own rules of operations to ensure they conform to the Treaty and standards of fairness.
It turns out too that after TCL moved to the CCJ the Commission itself claimed that the CCJ cannot move against the Commission, a claim thrown out by the CCJ
Trinidad cement limited through its local branch here supplies over 70% of the cement used here and Guyana was taken to the CCJ by TCL in the past for failing to adhere the rules relating to the Common External Tariff applied to cement coming from outside of Caricom. Guyana had admitted its actions but had argued that TCL could not meet its demands .Earlier this year Tcl was hit by a 90 day strike at its operations in Trinidad.
The action by the CCC and the subsequent judgement by the CCJ will be the subject of debate around the Caribbean region as the region moves to realize its dream of Regional Integration.