Today was the first day of hearings at the Caribbean Court of Justice in the trade dispute between Belize and Trinidad & Tobago. As we reported, Belize lodged a complaint against Trinidad & Tobago, saying that the twin-island republic failed to comply with its obligations under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC). Under the treaty, CARICOM states are required to impose a forty-percent Common External Tariff (“CET”) on brown sugar imported from sources outside the Caribbean region. Belize contends that it has evidence to demonstrate that between November 2018 and June 2020 brown sugar which was produced outside the Caribbean region, entered the market of Trinidad and Tobago without the tariff being imposed. Trinidad and Tobago denies that it has permitted the importation of extra-regional brown sugar from any extra-regional territory without the imposition of the tariff. Called to speak during the proceedings this morning was Andy Sutherland, the Director General of Belize’s Foreign Trade Directorate.
Also called to address the court was Vice President of International Relations at ASR, MacMcLachlan, who explained why this case is of such great importance.
The hearing continues for a second day tomorrow. The Court is presided over by CCJ President Justice Adrian Saunders and Justices Jacob Wit, Winston Anderson, Maureen Rajnauth (raj-nauth)-Lee, Denys (pronounced like “Dennis”) Barrow and Peter Jamadar (ja-ma-dar). In the case, Belize is represented by Senior Counsel E. Andrew Marshalleck (mar-sha-lek) and Samantha Matute (mah-toot)-Tucker. Trinidad & Tobago is represented by Terrence Bharath (ba-rath), Amrita Ramsook (ram-sook), Coreen Findley and Sasha Sukhram (soo-kram).