Guyana has until January 2016 to pay US$6M to Rudisa

Guyana has until January 2016 to pay US$6M to Rudisa

July 31, 2015 12:27 pm Category: latest news A+ / A-

By Jomo Paul

 

Attorney General, Basil Williams.

Attorney General, Basil Williams.

 

[www.inewsguyana.com]

 

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 In addition to that they noted that we had repealed the Customs Act,” said Williams.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.

Original Post

Attorney-General and Legal Affairs Minister, Mr Basil Williams adding his piece to the debate on the Customs [Amendment) Bill yesterday in the National Assembly (Photo by Adrian Narine)

Attorney-General and Legal Affairs Minister, Mr Basil Williams adding his piece to the debate on the Customs (Amendment) Bill yesterday in the National Assembly (Photo by Adrian Narine)

Gov’t amends Customs Act –Guyana could lose out on close to $1B

 

AFTER agreeing to a payment of some US$6.2M to the Surinamese company, Rudisa Beverages, over a Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruling against Guyana’s “discriminatory” environmental tax, the National Assembly yesterday passed the Customs (Amendment) Bill, which could leave a significant dent on the country’s finances. The section of the Act which was under appeal gave the Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) the power to collect an environmental tax on every unit of non-returnable containers of imported beverages. The Bill was presented by Finance Minister, Mr Winston Jordan, but it was Attorney-General and Legal Affairs Minister, Mr Basil Williams who has been representing the Guyana Government in the matter, which is set for final hearing today at the CCJ in Trinidad and Tobago. Williams said the government will be paying the US$6.2M agreed reduction from the settlement with the Surinamese company. That money is expected to be paid by January 31 of next year. In another measure, as required by the CCJ, Guyana will, as of today (July 31, 2015) cease collecting the environmental tax. Guyana’s Finance Minister is convinced, however, that Guyana might have had a stronger case at the level of the CCJ than it is being given credit for. Jordan cited the constitutional obligation of the State to protect Guyana’s environment for use by future generations. To this end, Jordan sought to defend the environmental tax in the National Assembly, saying that the Surinamese company should not have been awarded damages, since the losses claimed by the company would have already been recovered from the sale of their products in Guyana. “It was submitted that the claimants (Rudisa) had already recovered their loss by the general commercial practice of adding on the cost incurred as a result of the environmental levy to the selling price,” Minister Jordan said, citing the argument put forward by Guyana to the CCJ. Guyana has presented no evidence to show that Rudisa had, in fact, passed on the tax to consumers buying their products. Similarly, Jordan noted the negative impact that the non-collection of the tax would have on Guyana’s treasury, since it has contributed some $1B thus far. In further defense of the tax, Jordan cited the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD), which describes environmental taxes as economic instruments to address environmental problems, and a means of providing economic incentives for people and businesses to promote ecologically-sustainable activities. Foreign Minister, Mr Carl Greenidge took to the floor to decry that when the former PPP/C government imposed the environmental tax, “it was not unaware that it infringed the Treaty.” He rejected the notion of the PPP/C to lay blame to his party for the judgement, which could see Guyana having to pay more than US$1B in compensation. The PPP/C had sought to amend the act, and that was prevented by the then APNU and AFC opposition parties in the 10th Parliament in 2014. Speaking against statements of this nature from the PPP/C, Greenidge said the PPP/C’s amendment was not to a reduction of the tax but revising its application. Attorney-General Williams will join counsel for the Rudisa Beverage Company and the panel of judges at the CCJ to finalise the settlement between the Government and the Surinamese Company via video conference at the Court of Appeal, here in Kingston. (Derwayne Wills)

There are environmental taxes in the European Union and for good reason. Somebody has to pay for clearing up the mess from the packaging from imported goods. Guyana has to find a way to protect our environment from these sort of damages. The government should have introduced a tax on local companies as well, instead of giving in to foreign polluters.  

Originally Posted by baseman:
Originally Posted by Mr.T:

There are environmental taxes in the European Union and for good reason. Somebody has to pay for clearing up the mess from the packaging from imported goods. Guyana has to find a way to protect our environment from these sort of damages. The government should have introduced a tax on local companies as well, instead of giving in to foreign polluters.  

Understand their argument clown, the same tax was not applied to DIH who has the same business.  That banna Basil Williams put up a stupid defense, if there was any!  He sound like a kindergarten lawyer.

I am no clown you *******. So stop trying to elevate yourself to some sort of deity level. Read what I wrote before you open your mouth. I clearly stated that the government should have introduced taxes on the local companies as well.

Originally Posted by Mr.T:

There are environmental taxes in the European Union and for good reason. Somebody has to pay for clearing up the mess from the packaging from imported goods. Guyana has to find a way to protect our environment from these sort of damages. The government should have introduced a tax on local companies as well, instead of giving in to foreign polluters.  

Understand their argument clown, it was nit about the merits of such a tax, it's discriminatory as DIH and DDL was not assessed similar tax.

Originally Posted by asj:

 

Attorney-General and Legal Affairs Minister, Mr Basil Williams adding his piece to the debate on the Customs (Amendment) Bill yesterday in the National Assembly (Photo by Adrian Narine)

Gov’t amends Customs Act –Guyana could lose out on close to $1B

 

AFTER agreeing to a payment of some US$6.2M to the Surinamese company, Rudisa Beverages, over a Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruling against Guyana’s “discriminatory” environmental tax, the National Assembly yesterday passed the Customs (Amendment) Bill, which could leave a significant dent on the country’s finances. The section of the Act which was under appeal gave the Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) the power to collect an environmental tax on every unit of non-returnable containers of imported beverages. The Bill was presented by Finance Minister, Mr Winston Jordan, but it was Attorney-General and Legal Affairs Minister, Mr Basil Williams who has been representing the Guyana Government in the matter, which is set for final hearing today at the CCJ in Trinidad and Tobago. Williams said the government will be paying the US$6.2M agreed reduction from the settlement with the Surinamese company. That money is expected to be paid by January 31 of next year. In another measure, as required by the CCJ, Guyana will, as of today (July 31, 2015) cease collecting the environmental tax. Guyana’s Finance Minister is convinced, however, that Guyana might have had a stronger case at the level of the CCJ than it is being given credit for. Jordan cited the constitutional obligation of the State to protect Guyana’s environment for use by future generations. (was not the essence of the dispute) To this end, Jordan sought to defend the environmental tax in the National Assembly, saying that the Surinamese company should not have been awarded damages, since the losses claimed by the company would have already been recovered from the sale of their products in Guyana. (Nonsensical defense.  That fact meant they were at a pricing disadvantage, discriminatory). “It was submitted that the claimants (Rudisa) had already recovered their loss by the general commercial practice of adding on the cost incurred as a result of the environmental levy to the selling price (nonsense and irrlevant),” Minister Jordan said, citing the argument put forward by Guyana to the CCJ. Guyana has presented no evidence to show that Rudisa had, in fact, passed on the tax to consumers buying their products (correct but that's not the issue). Similarly, Jordan noted the negative impact that the non-collection of the tax would have on Guyana’s treasury, since it has contributed some $1B thus far (irrelevant to the case). In further defense of the tax, Jordan cited the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD), which describes environmental taxes as economic instruments to address environmental problems, and a means of providing economic incentives for people and businesses to promote ecologically-sustainable activities (true, but irrelevant to the substance of the dispute). Foreign Minister, Mr Carl Greenidge took to the floor to decry that when the former PPP/C government imposed the environmental tax, “it was not unaware that it infringed the Treaty (Ignorance is no excuse).” He rejected the notion of the PPP/C to lay blame to his party for the judgement, which could see Guyana having to pay more than US$1B in compensation. The PPP/C had sought to amend the act, and that was prevented by the then APNU and AFC opposition parties in the 10th Parliament in 2014 (good, now stew in alyuh own gravy, more to come). Speaking against statements of this nature from the PPP/C, Greenidge said the PPP/C’s amendment was not to a reduction of the tax but revising its application (Who cares now). Attorney-General Williams will join counsel for the Rudisa Beverage Company and the panel of judges at the CCJ to finalise the settlement between the Government and the Surinamese Company via video conference at the Court of Appeal, here in Kingston. (Derwayne Wills)

I don't see a single argument that could have slanted the ruling in Guyana's favor.  Them bannas in the hot seat.  I don't understand, the PNC Govt losing all around in 100 days, this might be their highest achievement.

I hope these are not the legal quacks who will represent Guyana at any border dispute arbitration with Venezuela.  This was such a weak and tactless defense lacking any intellectual depth, its a travesty. Each of their "defenses" could have been ripped to shreds by any 2nd year Uni Michigan law student.  These bannas are kindergarten.

Originally Posted by Ramakant-P:

They did promise lower taxes..

You notice none of the PNC/AFC brain thrust on this site opined, except for Mr T with his usual asinine rant.  Them shame that this is PNC top legal brain.  My young relative (who voted coalition) from Guyana told me last week that the GoG is woefully lacking in intellectual depth and brought back to many semi-senile PNC old hags.

Originally Posted by Mr.T:

There are environmental taxes in the European Union and for good reason. Somebody has to pay for clearing up the mess from the packaging from imported goods. Guyana has to find a way to protect our environment from these sort of damages. The government should have introduced a tax on local companies as well, instead of giving in to foreign polluters.  

No new taxes..  

Originally Posted by baseman:
Originally Posted by Ramakant-P:

They did promise lower taxes..

You notice none of the PNC/AFC brain thrust on this site opined, except for Mr T with his usual asinine rant.  Them shame that this is PNC top legal brain.  My young relative (who voted coalition) from Guyana told me last week that the GoG is woefully lacking in intellectual depth and brought back to many semi-senile PNC old hags.

Most of the PNC brain trust migrated and  Granger do not have  the ability to bring them back.  The top jobs are being given to PNC loyals.

Add Reply

Likes (0)
×
×
×
×
×