Categorized | National News

Pinder Calls For New Aragonite Deal

National Congress of Trade Unions Bahamas (NCTUB) President John Pinder yesterday urged the government to renegotiate the terms of an agreement with a company for the payment of royalties from aragonite hauled from The Bahamas.

The Bahamas currently receives $2 per metric ton of aragonite. However, it is sold at $900 per ton.

During a press conference in Rawson Square yesterday, Mr. Pinder said the agreement with the Billingham Dredging Corporation which allows for the dredging of Ocean Cay, expires on June 3, but there are reports that the contract has been extended through 2035.

“We are asking the government in its new negotiations on the royalties of aragonite coming out of Ocean Cay to not receive less than $350 a metric ton,” Mr. Pinder said. “We believe that can certainly answer the financial questions the country is faced with in terms of the government wishes to introduce Value Added Tax (VAT) as a new source of revenue to the tune of $200 million per annum.

“If we receive $350 per metric ton from aragonite and we have statistics to show that aragonite is produced at one million metric tons per month, so you are speaking about $300 million per month that can come into the country’s public treasury that will speak to some $4.2 billion annually.”

Mr. Pinder said through the revenues earned from the aragonite royalties, the country would be able to pay off its national debt in 18 months.

Additionally, he said, the government will be in a position to treat workers properly providing them adequate salary increases and setting a proper minimum wage for the country.

He also urged the government to hold off on presenting its budget until a reasonable contract is signed for aragonite.

We’re talking about moving from being borrowers to lenders,” Mr. Pinder said. “What China is to the world today is what The Bahamas should be to the Caribbean – we should be lending money, not borrowing money.

The union has stated that if the government fails to renegotiate the terms of the agreement, it will be forced to do what it has to to bring victory of these transgressions and ensure full compensation is carried out for all Bahamians.
Aragonite is a specific form of calcium carbonate sand found in The Bahamas.

It is used to produce, cement, glass containers, soil and agricultural lime.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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