Review team to probe CXCs

MP for All Saints West Michael Browne (Photo courtesy Caribbean News Service)
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The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) has formed a review team amid calls to scrutinise this year’s CXC exams.

On Friday, the examination body announced that its chairman, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, had convened a group to review the modified approach for the administration of the July/August 2020 CSEC and CAPE examinations.

That team will also evaluate the moderation process applied to the School-Based Assessment (SBA) for the July/August 2020 CSEC and CAPE examinations, as well as the grading process for the July/August 2020 CSEC and CAPE examinations, among other related matters.

Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Education, Michael Browne, who is also Chair of the CARICOM Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD), will form part of the team.

The group met with the CXC chairman yesterday and is expected to start work immediately.

A report will be compiled and sent to the chairman by October 16.

Chair of the review team is Professor Hazel Simmons-McDonald, Professor Emerita and retired Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UWI’s Open Campus.

Harris Paints boss defends firm against ‘unfair competition’ claims

CEO of the Harris Paints Group, Ian Kenyon, has defended his company against what he termed a “controversy sparked amongst paint retailers”.

Major paint retailers on the island have said they are not satisfied with the apparent “monopoly” created when Harris Paints became the only paint manufacturer in the country.

The retailers say they have been denied the opportunity to sell the company’s premium paint, which is now only sold at one establishment.

While the other retailers are allowed to import and sell other paint brands, they have also had to increase the price of those brands to accommodate 50 and 35 percent duty tax increases.

They believe they have been made non-competitive in the market by being denied the option to sell Harris’ premium paint, which most customers request, while still having to increase the price of their imported brands.

On Thursday evening, while addressing the growth of the company, CEO Kenyon said Harris’ paint is available in 50 percent of Antigua’s major retailers and its biggest competitor can already supply paint duty-free from Grenada.

He did not however specify whether these companies were being supplied with the premium or lower grade paints – which is what the retailers who spoke with Observer say they are being allowed to buy.

“Other paint companies could have launched in Antigua but they chose not to do so,” Kenyon said, explaining that less developed countries within Caricom had been discussing steps to create an incentive to attract investment for almost 20 years, during which time any manufacturer could have invested in Antigua or any of the other LDC (less developed countries) economies.

He pointed out that because Harris already had plants in Dominica and St Lucia, Harris was uniquely positioned to have supplied the Antiguan market duty-free.

He said the government had been very supportive in assisting Harris in starting operations as quickly as was achieved and applauded its efforts to attract investment to the island.

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