Gov’t blames Opposition for CCJ Ruling on beverage company refund –

Cabinet Secretary. Dr. Roger Luncheon.

[] – Head of the Presidential Secretariat and Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon said that the Opposition political parties should accept responsibility for the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruling in favour of Guyana having to refund US$6M ($1.2B) to the Surinamese company, Rudisa Beverages.

Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon
Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon

The CCJ recently handed down a decision in which it ruled that the environmental tax collected from the company by the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), for the importation of its soft drink Thrill was in breach of Guyana’s obligation under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTCRTC) which outlines free trade to signatory countries. The CCJ ruled in Rudisa’s favour, and ordered that the claimants are entitled to repayment.

Dr. Luncheon at a post-Cabinet media briefing noted that Government had proposed and presented for the Opposition’s approval in the tenth Parliament, legislation to remedy the offending provision in the Guyanese tax legislation, which was inconsistent with Guyana’s treaty obligation under RTCRTC, but these proposed amendments were rejected by the Opposition.

“Sadly today, Guyana has to face a CCJ ruling on this matter,” Dr. Luncheon said.

“Now we have to deal with the tendency of the opposition parties, both APNU and AFC to decline to accept responsibility for this situation. They would have us believe (1) do not blame us and even more absurdly blame the government,” Dr. Luncheon pointed out.

The Government spokesperson noted that CCJ and Rudisa Beverages were supportive of the Government of Guyana’s effort to comply with its treaty obligation, and in so doing, would have given time to Government to rectify the tax in Parliament by way of the Environmental Bill.

“The material factors were known, were brought to the attention of the tenth parliament specifically to the members of the Opposition, and they still elected to vote against the bill,” Dr. Luncheon said.

He said the Opposition this time around, fully aware of its denial of being responsible can indeed continue in this reign of denial or act sensibly however, belatedly towards having the legislation approved.  



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