Local Blockmakers concerned about livelihoods

Local blockmakers in the construction industry are being pressured to replace their molds used to make blocks in order to meet a new specification and are laying blame on government for not protecting their interest.

The owner of a local block making plant told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that the manufacturers of blocks are worried that their livelihoods could be affected because of the new specification.

The person who spoke on condition that he was not identified said that the blockmakers are concerned about their future as most have families to take care of and mortgages to pay to financial institutions.

This newspaper understands that a meeting was convened last week Tuesday at the Grenada Bureau of Standards (GBS) where blockmakers were advised that it would best suit the market if they changed their molds.

The Blockmakers are complaining that most of them would not be able to afford new molds as it could cost them in excess of $19,000.

The local operator feared that the directive to change their molds might only be in the interest of a foreign block maker.

Towards the end of last year, government started importing concrete blocks from a Trinidad-based company, Bestcrete Concrete Blocks that has links with some local businessmen with closes ties to the ruling administration.

The local blockmakers are saying that since the introduction of the Trinidadians they have been having trouble selling their blocks on the market.

The block manufacturers are suspicious that the move is aimed at giving the imported blocks an edge over them on the local market and could slowly squeeze them out of business.

The locals were optimistic that during the construction of the new Parliament building at Mt. Wheldale that they would have benefitted but this newspaper understands that all the concrete blocks used in the construction were imported.

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