From the Caribbean Court of Justice re the settlement of the US$6.2M judgement awarded to Suriname soft drinks bottler Rudisa for the illegal imposition of a $10 per bottle environmental tax as it violated Caricom regulations on intra Caribbean trade that require a level playing field for regional products. That tax was rescinded by the National Assembly on Thursday. It will cost the government $1B per year in lost revenue.
31 July 2015
IN GUYANA’S COMPLIANCE WITH CCJ JUDGMENT
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) this morning heard parties in the original
jurisdiction matter Rudisa Beverages and Juices N.V. and Caribbean International
Distributors Inc.(CIDI) v The State of Guyana OA 003 of 2013, to deal with the issue
of compliance with the Court’s judgment handed down on 8 May 2014.
The Court had ruled in May 2014 that an environmental tax, which was levied on CIDI,
was inconsistent with the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC). In its original
jurisdiction, the CCJ is the guardian of that CARICOM Treaty and the final arbiter of
disputes arising out of it.
The CCJ had ordered the State of Guyana to repay the sum of US$6,047,244.47 together
with any further tax paid by CIDI from 25th October 2013 to the date of the judgment,
and interest on these sums at the rate of 4% per year. The State was further ordered to
“cease forthwith” the collection of this tax and to take necessary action to ensure that
collection would not continue.
The CCJ embarked on a novel approach with regards to the enforcement of judgments. In
its judgment it required CIDI to notify the Court whether and if so, to what extent Guyana
had complied with the orders of the Court. In case of non- or partial compliance, Guyana
was ordered to file a report.
Upon notification of Guyana’s initial non-compliance by the attorney for CIDI, the Court
ordered the parties to appear before it. At the hearing today the parties reported to the
Court that they had reached a full and final settlement with regard to Guyana’s
compliance with the CCJ’s judgment as was evidenced by a signed agreement of
settlement a copy of which was submitted to the Court. It was agreed that Guyana will
pay CIDI the amount of US$ 6.2 million on or before 31 January 2016. It was further
reported that Guyana will cease the collection of the environmental tax as of today,
Guyana’s parliament having passed an amendment to the Customs Act on 30 July 2015.
At today’s hearing, the Court expressed its satisfaction with the progress made and
adjourned the matter until 26 February 2016 to allow the parties, in accordance with Rule
30.3(4) of its Original Jurisdiction Rules, to provide proof of complete compliance with
Mr. Hans Rudolph Lim A Po appeared as Attorney-at-law for The Claimants and the
134 HENRY STREET
PORT OF SPAIN
REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
Phone: (868) 623-2225 Fax: (868) 624-5071
Public Education and Communications Unit:
Tel: (868) 623 2225 ext. 2226
Fax: (868) 624 5071
Hon. Attorney-General Mr. Basil Williams, MP and Ms. Prithima Kissoon appeared on
behalf of the State of Guyana.