Guyana has until January 2016 to pay US$6M to Rudisa
By Jomo Paul
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has granted the Guyana Government until January 31, 2016 to pay off a US$6M judgement awarded to Rudisa Beverages after the company took Guyana to court over a “discriminatory” environmental tax.
Rudisa Beverages had taken the government to court over the imposition of $10 on every disposable container imported into the country and won the case, arguing that a similar tax was not imposed on local distributor such as Banks DIH and Demerara Distillers limited.
The case was last called for a report on Friday, July 31 where Attorney General, Basil Williams officially informed the Full Court that the two parties had arrived at an agreement.
“Our payment has to be on or before January 31, 2016. In addition to that they noted that we had repealed the Customs Act,” said Williams.
With the official repulsion of the Customs Amendment Bill, Guyana’s treasury will lose up to $1B annually; however the Government will be safeguarded against similar lawsuits from other importers.
Effectively, the new Bill would bring Guyana in full compliance with the Treaty of Chaguramas.
As of July 31, the Guyana Revenue Authority will cease the collection of the $10 environmental tax.
Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge has stated that when the former People’s Progressive Party/Civic administration sought the imposition of the tax it was aware that they would be in breach of the Chaguramas agreement but proceeded nonetheless.