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Nov 2, 2021

Belize at Caribbean Court of Justice in Sugar Case Against T & T

Day one of the hearing of Belize’s case in the Caribbean Court of Justice against the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago commenced today. Earlier this year Belize, sued St. Kitts-Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago, alleging that the two CARICOM member states were importing brown sugar from countries outside the Single Marker without imposing the forty percent Common External Tariff. The -Government of Saint Kitts-Nevis and Belize reached an out-of court settlement on conditions that were satisfactory to Belize. The Government of Belize is arguing at the CCJ that the sugar from non CARICOM sources, including Guatemala, is displacing regionally produced sugar from the CARICOM single market.


Terrence Bharath, Attorney, Trinidad and Tobago

“You are the Director General of Trade to foreign trade, the Salient purchase of sugar in the Caribbean countries, it is a free market activity isn’t it?”


Andy Sutherland, Dir. Gen. Foreign Trade, Belize Ministry of Foreign Affairs

“The CARICOM Market does operate on free market principles. That has to be context within the rules and regulations enshrined in the revised treaty. It cannot be handled separately.”


Terrence Bharath

“So it is a free trade organization. So if I wanted to for example to buy sugar from Suriname, and I am an importer in Trindad and Tobago, I could. There is nothing in the revised treaty of Chaguaramas that says no.  Isn’t that so?”


Andy Sutherland

“That is correct. Suriname is a member of the community. It is a member of the Customs Union. Free trade does exist.”


Terrence Bharath

“If I wanted to buy sugar from Colombia and I am in Trinidad, there is nothing that prevents me from doing that is that so?”


Andy Sutherland

“You are free to purchase sugar from wherever.”


Terrence Bharath

“So, we in the CARICOM operate a free trade market, in terms of sugar. Let’s leave CET for a while. We operate a free trade market.”


Andy Sutherland

“Well, you cannot divorce the importation of sugar from the rules that exist. There are certain rules that exist within the revised treaty that does apply to the importation process.”


Terrence Bharath

“You are the one the Government of Belize, the state of Belize has brought a case on behalf of BSI, yes. And you all are saying that BSI being wrongfully treated, sugar is being brought into Trinidad without the CET and therefore it suffered damage. That is what you come here to tell the highest court in the land.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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